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Thread: Pittsburgh employment?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Pittsburgh employment?

    I may be relocating to Pittsburgh in the near future..

    Does anyone have any advice for employment opportunities besides the City and the County, (Specifically Comp Planning, Urban Redevelopment or Economic Development- Please do not mention Urban Design Companies)

    Maybe Neighborhood nonprofits or redevelopment firms?

    Any general knowledge of Pittsburgh Planning I should know before getting into the area?

    …. “Dan” I saw in your cities and places post that you were recently in Pittsburgh, do you have any ties to the area? Anything I should know while relocating and searching for employment in the area?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    We considered moving to Pittsburgh last year, but opportunities emerged here in Albuquerque that inspired us to stay. Pittsburgh is an exciting place these days, rebounding enthusiastically from the '70's closure of the steel mills. Green building and historic restoration seem to be hot areas right now. My observation also was that a lot of community development and planning was being done through local CDCs and other neighborhood-based non-profit groups rather than the city planning department (though I think the city is an enthusiastic partner with these groups - I applaud their interest in empowering local groups)

    Check out: http://www.deweykaye.com/jobswatch/ for jobs in this and other areas (check back frequently as it is updated often.) I see positions at local CDCs a lot here.

    Also check out Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, http://www.ppnd.org/partners_cdc.asp to link to many of the cities neighborhood-based organizations.

    Lastly, a great deal of this work in Pittsburgh is funded by local foundations (legacies of industry - Heinz, Carnegie, McCune, Mellon, Bennedum, etc.). This is another angle - working for donors that give out grants for planning and development groups and need program officers and other specialists that know about these issues and can advise both applicants and the foundations about how best to spend their money. This is one of my favorites: http://www.sproutfund.org/ but there are many more: http://www.carnegielibrary.org/subje...undations.html

    Here is one of the coolest projects going on (IMO) and which ties in with my own interests: http://www.pennavenuearts.org/ They working to revitalize Penn Avenue through low interest loans to artists and other creative interests to reinvent and rehab a neglected area that was at one time a bustling center of cultural activity. Cool stuff.

    I got a lot of this info from Jmac here in Cyburbia. Direct message him for some advice, too - he was very helpful!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    One question may be how much experience you have. If you can come into a new community with several years of work and one or two areas of specialization, then you will be much better off. Also, long-range planning is more transferable then current planning, as there is less of a critical need to know the intricacies of planning law in a new city and state.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  4. #4
    Pittsburgh's not a good place to find a job, and the economy is bad. That's why we're moving away. Just do a little research online and you'll see what I mean.

  5. #5
    Member
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    Quote Originally posted by chinenjim View post
    Pittsburgh's not a good place to find a job, and the economy is bad. That's why we're moving away. Just do a little research online and you'll see what I mean.
    Watch Steeler games on television. Pittsburgh fans in away games pretty often outnumber those of the home team. Yes, I will always be a Steeler fan but never anticipate a return as a planning professional to the hometown. I have never run the statistics down, but as many Pittsburghers live apart from the city as those who live there now. The steel industry meltdown was that bad.

    The suggestions by Wahday are certainly well said and justifiably fertile. I hope only to contribute a note of realistic caution. The local CDCs appear to be in disarray to me. The root of the problem is that funding was diverted from community agencies to support stadium construction for the Pirates and the Steelers. The Penguins have been trying to be included for years. Deep pockets do show up for the likes of the South Side Works development project. Tag that one and find out where its money came from.

    Morale is horrible, though, and I think only outsiders would take the view that the place is coming back. I shall not go on about the region's self image, but as with all of this, you can contact me directly at however Cyburbia does such things and I will do my best to answer Pittsburgh questions.

    Myself, I really believe in conservation and heritage. No city in the country is more deserving of efforts, such as yours, on that score. Pittsburgh is a very nice place to live. It is very beautiful at times. It would be a very good place to settle and raise a family if you find a stable position. Tell me a city which is not work to find an opportunity? If you are starting a career and have the patience to see a little charm saved for your efforts, then persevere.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Thank you all for the replies..

    I understand the concerns that Pittsburgh is a dieing area, However I am relocating for personal reasons not to be in a thriving business environment. Furthermore my experience is in "rust belt" cities ranging from 350k to 1mil in population.

    I have yet to find the type of employment I am looking for but my search has not been that serious up to this point. After the first of the year I will look hard for a community redevelopment/ revitalization position. I have also seen some private sector jobs that peak my interest. Once again thank you all for the info and all suggestions/ advice are welcome.

    -wv06

  7. #7
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Also, long-range planning is more transferable then current planning, as there is less of a critical need to know the intricacies of planning law in a new city and state.
    I don't think this is accurate. I believe current planning skills are more transferable, and they don't just come down to planning law. I'm talking about understanding site plans, urban design, engineering/construction procedures, and learning how to work with (and negotiate with) developers and private sector consultants.

    IMO planning schools produce plenty of students that know about comprehensive plans and planning theory, but have no idea about what planning is like "on the ground". This, I believe, gets to one of the reasons why comprehensive plans often fail: planners do not understand market rationalities and construction practices well enough.

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