Bill Peduto Replies Again

Here's the candidate's reply to Question Three:

Question: What steps should the Mayor take to promote in-migration to the region?

Answer:

I’m often asked, “What can we do to attract more young people to the region, and keep the ones we have?”

It’s an important question and it’s why I established the Guyasuta Fellowship, in which young Pittsburghers are given the opportunity to work on solutions to important challenges facing our city, such as public transportation and the streamlining of government services.

Before we start talking solutions, let’s look at the facts. The U.S. Census Bureau released estimates on April 14 showing Allegheny County with a population of 1,250,867 in 2004, 8,309 less than 2003. There are many factors contributing to local population decline. Some of it is purely demographic. Births in the region have not kept pace with deaths. In fact, 18 percent of metropolitan Pittsburgh's population is 65 or older. (Nationwide the population is only 12 percent 65+.) So, demographically we start at a disadvantage if the goal is simply increasing population.

However, according to an analysis of the census bureau estimates, most of our population loss was because of residents leaving the area.

What do we do to reverse the trend of young professionals leaving the city?

It’s simple: listen to them.

I’m fortunate that I represent – according to the most recent statistics – the youngest council district in the city. Almost half of Shadyside is under 40, and I have both CMU and Pitt in my district. Between my district and the Guyasuta Fellowship I’m blessed with a sort of permanent ad hoc focus group on how to attract and retain young professionals to the city.

If we listen to the wants and needs of the young professionals, government can better serve the neighborhoods and build the type of communities that attract young professionals. The model of successful regions is one where public opinion is used to build consensus. By engaging young professionals and bringing them to the table we will design communities that appeal to the “Creative Class.” As mayor, I will reach out to all facets of our city because creating diverse, vibrant communities is the cornerstone of a New Pittsburgh.

And, I’ve proven my ability and willingness to do this as a councilman.

I’ve championed Community Based Development to create a common vision for how we grow as a city and as a region, while preserving and protecting what makes Pittsburgh special — our 88 unique residential neighborhoods. As mayor, I will create a citywide Community Based Development system that will allow all Pittsburgh residents to have a say in the future of their neighborhood and our city.

In addition to championing Community Based Development, I've worked to strengthen our neighborhoods' cultural fabric.

I’ve also partnered with the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Alliance and ProArts when we held Civics 101: City Services for Artists. We introduced hundreds of young Pittsburgh artists to the city officials who manage the city’s event planning, public works, and parks and recreation. This educational program explained to artists how to display public art, create events, and perform in public, and it improved our quality of life by supporting events and festivals that invigorate community spirit, promote, tourism, and contribute economic and social benefits to the Greater Pittsburgh region.

By enabling youth to participate in planning and governing of our city and breaking down barriers to create a city of vibrant, diverse and culturally stimulating neighborhoods we can increase Pittsburgh’s attractiveness to young professionals and hopefully reverse some of the demographic trends within our control.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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