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Old 02-05-2014, 11:26 AM   #1
Atlanta Dan
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Default How the Steel City avoided Detroitís fate.

Nice articles in Politico on Pittsburgh's recovery from the collapse of the steel industry

A year-long reported series from Politico Magazine, featuring innovative ideas—and how they spread—from cities across the United States at a time of unprecedented urban reinvention.

The Robots That Saved Pittsburgh
How the Steel City avoided Detroit’s fate.

In1983, Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate reached 17.1 percent and the city was losing more than 4,000 people a month. The steel industry that had built modern Pittsburgh, funded its museums and mansions, its football team and its aspiring middle class, was cratering, never to return. But the success of Carnegie Mellon’s Three Mile Island robotics team—it produced a ground-breaking assessment of the extent of the radiation from sensor readings, photographic inspections and core samples taken from the concrete, none of which would have been possible with human hands alone—would set into motion a spectacular, three-decade cycle of innovation, investment and expansion...

Improbably for a blue-collar town that seemed headed for the scrap heap when its steel industry collapsed, Pittsburgh has developed into one of the country’s most vibrant tech centers, a hotbed of innovation that can no longer be ignored by the industry’s titans. Carnegie Mellon is Google’s biggest rival in the race to build a driverless car, partnering with GM to build a robot Cadillac that has been humanlessly tooling around Route 19, just outside city limits. In 2011, Google opened a posh, 40,000-square-foot office in an old Nabisco factory in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood, ramping up last year to 350 people, with more on the way. Bill Gates and other Silicon Valley moguls have invested millions of dollars in Aquion Energy, a start-up spun out of CMU that is developing next-generation batteries and producing them in nearby Westermoreland County, not China. Apple, RAND and Intel also have outposts in town and Disney, which has tapped the university’s computer and robotics talent for years, is partnering with the school to improve cinematic graphics and to develop hominid robots that can gently hand objects to people by predicting the movement around them. All told, Pittsburgh’s tech and education sectors now account for some 80 percent of the high-wage jobs in the city, and robots are just the most visible piece of this miraculous turnaround of a city on the brink....


Another article on the changing political structure
The Political Makeover of a Rust Belt City
Pittsburgh finally banished the old boys' network—but it took a generation.


2 photo essays

PHOTOS: From Steel City to Roboburgh


PHOTOS: Robots at Work
Are they taking jobs—or making new ones? The whiz-bang gadgets coming out of Carnegie Mellon.


And a 2 minute video

It would be nice to have both, but given the choice between a great Steelers team and a craptastic economy as opposed to a growing economy and a craptastic Steelers team I will take the growing economy for the region in which I grew up (although it obviously would be better to have both)
ďFor every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.Ē - H.L. Mencken
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