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Community, economic and social development…

May 17, 2010

While Pittsburgh’s government and business leaders pressed for big-government solutions – new stadiums and convention centers – the city’s real turn- around was driven by community groups and citizen-led initiatives. Community groups, local foundations, and nonprofits – not city hall or business-led economic development groups – drove its transformation, playing a key role in stabilizing and strengthening neighborhoods, building green, and spurring the development of the waterfront and re- development around the universities. Many of Pittsburgh’s best neighborhoods, such as its South Side, are ones that were somehow spared from the wrath of urban renewal. Others, such as East Liberty, have benefited from community initiatives designed to remedy the damage done by large-scale urban renewal efforts that left vacant lots in place of functioning neighborhoods and built soulless public housing high-rise towers. That neighborhood is now home to several new community development projects, including a Whole Foods Market, which provides local jobs as well as serving as an anchor for the surrounding community. This kind of bottom-up process takes considerable time and perseverance. In Pittsburgh’s case, it took the better part of a generation to achieve stability and the potential for longer-term revival.

The Great Reset copyright © 2010 Richard Florida (emphases are mine)

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If this IS true, and could also be true of Leeds, then what does it mean for the focus of community development workers in the city?

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