Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pittsburgh v. Detroit

Null Space is occupied today, in part, by a brief discussion of Pittsburgh and Detroit, combatants on ice and cohorts in some civic respects.

Two points (an average game for Mario Lemieux, but not for any Red Wing):

(1) The relevant regions have shared the misfortune of the collapse of a foundational industry. Southwestern Pennsylvania (whose collapse occurred first, and whose recovery is further along) constitutes a mildly hopeful example to southeastern Michigan in this regard.

(2) The regions also share the misfortune of a failed core city. Detroit's downtown collapsed 20 years ago and has begun to revive; Pittsburgh's is still teetering, still declining. The lessons Pittsburgh (the city) and its region could draw from this are that downtowns can capsize and that the surrounding regions can survive such a collapse.

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