Downtown Revitalizations: Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania: A center for steel and manufacturing turned into a world-class city with established universities and a great arts scene. For many years, Pittsburgh was a center of America’s steel industry. Over the past 30 years, Pittsburgh was able to transform itself after the Industrial Revolution. Pittsburgh became an example for other downtown revitalizations throughout the country, blending old with new.

How It Happened

During the early 1900s, Pittsburgh was the center of the American Steel Industry. Immigration to the city of Europeans entering through New York’s Ellis Island caused a growth in population, and World War II brought about a demand for steel, leading to Pittsburgh’s rise as one of the top ten cities in America. After World War II, the pollution created from steel took its toll on air quality throughout the city.

In the 1970s, the city embarked on a project called “Renaissance,” with a goal of cleaning up the city’s air and rivers and kicking off redevelopment. However, the 1980s brought the end of the city’s steel and electronics industries, causing major layoffs from plants and mills throughout the city. Job focus in the city quickly shifted towards education, tourism, and technology. Along with the creation of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, many of Pittsburgh’s historic arts buildings were restored and parks were created throughout the city.

North Shore

Located on the Allegheny River, the North Shore district features many museums and attractions. Fans of Andy Warhol should check out the Andy Warhol Museum on Sandusky Street. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates also call this neighborhood home, with Heinz Field and PNC Park located just a stone’s throw from each other. Numerous restaurants also line the area between Heinz Field and PNC Park. For nightlife, Stage AE offers numerous concerts while the Rivers Casino has a full casino floor with slots and table games.


This neighborhood is home to the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Melon. Located just a few miles from downtown, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden is a must-see while you’re in this area offering over a dozen different gardens to discover. The Cathedral of Learning is a 42-story building located on the campus of University of Pittsburgh, and houses 30 classrooms decorated based on 30 different nationalities.

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