Reinventing The American City: Steel Town Forges A New Future

March 7, 2016

Pittsburgh was named as one of the most livable cities in the United States by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist magazine. That title makes many residents proud, but who exactly is the city “livable” for?

Decades of industrial power and production made Pittsburgh into the steel capital of the world, beginning in the late 19th century. However, the city suffered a steep economic decline in the 1980s after America began importing more steel. Today, Pittsburgh is rebuilding with a new focus on research, technology and the arts. That’s bringing prosperity for some, but is displacing some long-term residents and threatening the identity of established — and even historic — neighborhoods.

On Tuesday, March 8, I’m heading to Pittsburgh to focus on these issues with the people who know the city best. In collaboration with Pittsburgh member station WESA.

Going There: Reinventing the American City will feature a night of lively storytelling with established residents and passionate newcomers, music and more. We will also take the conversation to social media with a live Twitter chat, beginning at 6 p.m. ET with the hashtag #LivableCity. Stay tuned after the Twitter chat for a live video stream of the event which you can watch here.

Featured Twitter Guests:

Betty Cruz @WelcomingPGH, deputy chief of special initiatives in the office of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. One of the projects she manages is Welcoming Pittsburgh, an initiative focused on improving the lives of immigrants in the community.

Karris Jackson @karrismjackson is vice president of programs at the POISE Foundation, an organization focused on supporting the African-American community.

Sue Kerr @PghLesbian24, founder and editor-in-chief of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents blog. She is also currently curating the #AMPLIFY project, an archive of Q&A posts with queer and trans neighbors from the 26 counties of Western Pennsylvania.

Justin Laing @jdlaing is the senior program officer in the Arts and Culture Program of The Heinz Endowments, a private foundation that supports programs in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Kim Lyons @SocialKimLy, writer and editor at NEXTpittsburgh, a website dedicated to the latest innovations in Pittsburgh.

Featured Live Panelists:

LaToya Ruby Frazier is a photographer and visual artist with a focus on a range of topics including rustbelt revitalization, environmental justice and family history. Frazier was a 2015 recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, also known as the MacArthur “genius” fellowship.

Bill Generett Jr. is president and CEO of Urban Innovation21, a partnership that links successful innovation economy clusters with the needs of inner-city communities.

Chris Ivey is an award-winning filmmaker, known internationally for his documentary series East of Liberty, which focuses on race, class and gentrification fears in Pittsburgh.

Eve Picker is the founder and president of Small Change, a real estate equity crowd-funding portal to help fund transformational real estate projects.

Tara Sherry-Torres is the founder and chief creative officer at Café Con Leche, a Latino lifestyle brand that curates experiences using art, food and digital media.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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