That’s a tag that we’ve seen a few times here over the past few years, and is certainly a very impressive designation. My wonderful friends in Vancouver quickly pointed out that their city comes in at #1 most livable in the world, with Pittsburgh down at #29. Having been to Vancouver to see them, I can totally understand why. We can certainly be happy about our #1 designation in the U.S., but hearing this again raised some questions for me more than anything:
1. How are we #1 in the U.S.? I love this city as much as anyone, but this city has its deficiencies. We obviously have a great healthcare system, world-class higher education, low cost of living/housing, great arts and culture scene. However, our public transit stinks, there is no downtown residential market, no favorable climate for businesses to move downtown, and a political structure unwilling to allow those with a vision in office to pursue that vision. We all know that our mayor doesn’t have one. It appears as though density equals crime and congestion, which hurts the major worldwide metropolises.
2. How is the top U.S. city only #29 in the world? That to me is fairly embarrassing on a larger scale. I will admit that I have yet to visit a city in the U.S. that has the amenities that a Vancouver does, so I won’t argue their #1 position. That’s a great city. But how far have we gone downhill that the U.S. has the 29th most livable city in the world? That’s just truly baffling to me.
3. If Pittsburgh is #1 in the U.S., how do we improve it to push it up the list worldwide? As a passionate Pittsburgher with no intentions of leaving soon, I want to be able to affect change in this city. That is one marvelous thing about this town – it is very small. If you want to affect change, you most certainly can. I don’t bring up the deficiencies of Pittsburgh to merely criticize it – I don’t think we can gloat that we get a designation like this and be happy. There are many, many things that can be improved upon to make this city an even better place. If anyone gets complacent about that, we are in trouble.
4. Refer to question #1. Just how bad are other U.S. cities transportation systems, costs of living, etc that Pittsburgh tops them all? Moreover, what happens if Pittsburgh gets hot and the housing market spikes up to the levels of other major areas? Suddenly, we aren’t so ‘livable’.
Lists like these are always great for the morale, and always a reminder to me how lucky we are live here. However, I’m going to keep doing what I can to move our city up that list – ’cause in this big town/small city we live in, its possible for a guy like me a or a person like you to affect this whole city. Now THAT is advantage Pittsburgh.