Back to the future
Pittsblog and AntiRust do a great job of summing up everything wrong with the latest inane scheme to redevelop Downtown Pittsburgh, this time with a publicly financed skyscraper. As for me, I keep asking the same question: Why? Why do our so-called leaders keep repeating the mistakes of the past?
It's a question that contains its own answer. They keep doing the same thing over and over again because to do otherwise would be to admit, finally, that 50 years of top-down, government-driven redevelopment policies have failed spectacularly. And our elected officials, even if they played no role in any of those decisions--the alleged Renaissance (numbers one and two), bulldozing the Hill District, gutting East Liberty, etc.--are heavily invested, emotionally and politically, in the myths those projects spawned.
Because the truth is that Pittsburgh has been in free fall for half a century, and no one has been able to arrest it. The air is cleaner, the rivers are cleaner, and the Golden Triangle sure looks great from Mt. Washington, but none of it matters. Our infrastructure is crumbling, our taxes are too high, our government is too big, and people keep leaving.
It's all a house of cards, and no one wants to be the one who finally makes it collapse.