Pittsburgh's identity has always been its work. Thirty years ago, when it lost the steel mills that had forged its 20th-century reputation, it became part of the Rust Belt, with a fractured economy and three polluted rivers: the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny.
Today, locals use the rivers for play as well as work. On sunny summer weekends, the water buzzes with kayaks and pleasure boats, thousands flock to outdoor festivals at refurbished Point State Park at the confluence of the rivers, and cyclists zip past golden bridges and black-and-gold-clad sports fans. The region is reclaiming its riverfront, embracing a new name suggested by architect and Carnegie Mellon University faculty member Don Carter: the Water Belt.