After years of combating its soot-covered-metropolis-on-the-skids image, Pittsburgh is on the march. It has remade itself from a smoky blue-collar steel town into a green white-collar information hub that lures tech companies like Google and Uber. The resurgent Pittsburgh was named America’s most livable city last year by the Economist, and, for the first time in decades, it’s a place people go to by choice rather than necessity.
But this isn’t Pittsburgh’s first rebrand. From the early 1950s to the mid-1970s, the city underwent what it still calls the Renaissance, a period that saw the first moves to reclaim its natural resources from mills and railroads, a boom in new construction, and an arms-wide-open embrace of urban renewal. It also displaced thousands of families, disrupted a thriving downtown, and accelerated the flight to the suburbs.