The New Boston

Up in Boston, folks talk about the place as "The Hub." I've never heard a straight story as to the origins of the metaphor, or as to its meaning. Hub of what? But now I'm thinking that Pittsburgh might want to lay claim to something similar. Sure, a few years ago PIT lost its hub status for USAir(ways). But the pace of talk about Pittsburgh as a something of a model city, or an anchor city, seems to be picking up. And I mean that in a good way.

I'm prompted to say this first and foremost because of Chris Briem's recent "Cleveburgh" op-ed about regional Pittsburgh/Youngstown/Cleveland collaboration/cooperation (with Pittsburgh implicitly but clearly as the dominant or leading player -- my gloss, not Chris's point). Chris was summing up for the popular press a theme that has percolated through his own Null Space and through Jim Russell's Burgh Diaspora for several years. The difference now is that the popular conversation seems to be willing to give the idea some credit. It's more than "they like us! they really like us!"; it's "there's something there worth talking about."

But the Pittsburgh hub idea is also implicit in the Burgh Diaspora theme (Pittsburgh as the center of a huge universe of expats and would-be in-migrants), which edged up another notch in popular credibility the other day, beyond Jim's blog and beyond the occasional column in the Post-Gazette, with the launch of Carl Kurlander's Six Degrees of Pittsburgh blog at the PG.  I'm hoping that Carl keeps up blogging and that the comments start to roll in, because the PG's web audience is huge.  The Diaspora is more than Steeler Nation.  Carl is making the right case:  the Diaspora, and the idea of regional, national, and global connectedness, are keys to Pittsburgh's economic future.  He's talking about entertainment and Hollywood and Pittsburgh as a storytelling and filmmaking hub.  But those are just examples of a broader model that cuts across economic sectors.

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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.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

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