The New Hub with a High Tech Sheen
The steel city may forever be a town of grit, terrible towels, and mustaches. And while we hope all those things endure, the ‘Burgh has also taken on a high-tech sheen. That’s courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University, whose graduates have attracted a slew of new employers — Uber, Apple, Disney, and Google among them. The tech sector, in fact, now accounts for 23 percent of the old steel town’s workforce and about a third of its wages.
Of course, the city is more than just Silicon Valley East. You can still afford to take a job at a startup here without crashing on a futon in a studio with three other dudes. And that even goes for hip districts like Lawrenceville, East Liberty, and Garfield, where large four-bedroom Victorians can be found for as little as $200,000.
Those neighborhoods are crowded with sidewalk cafes, tapas bars, breweries, and cider joints, all connected by 67 miles (and growing) of bike lanes and a highly rated public transit system. Decades-old art institutions like the Mattress Factory and the Andy Warhol Museum exist alongside new galleries and event spaces. Pittsburgh’s three rivers — the Monongahela, the Allegheny, and the Ohio — are finally coming into focus, too: More than $130 million has been invested in transforming riverfronts on the Allegheny and Ohio, including the construction of 13 miles of dedicated riverfront trails in Three Rivers Park. Or skip town altogether on the recently completed Great Allegheny Passage, part of a 334.5-mile bike route to Washington, D.C., where you won’t see a single car — not even a driverless one.
My Town: Nathan Martin, 39, founder of Deeplocal
I started my marketing agency in the East Liberty neighborhood nine years ago, out of a $500-a-month loft where the windows didn’t even lock. Now there’s an Ace Hotel here. The city’s been transformed. Like a lot of revived places, people want to shop and eat local, and the riverfronts have started to open up to bikers and kayakers, so it’s becoming more active. But Pittsburgh is still gritty and hardcore. A bit of blue-collar roughness will always be part of our identity. Some of our clients are looking for that. I mean, sometimes we work with blacksmiths. Hard to find those in San Francisco.”
By the numbers:
- Population: 306,430
- Median Home Price: $76,700
- Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
- Cost of Living (relative to U.S. Median): -16%
- Median Income: $38,029
- # of Bridges, More Than Any US City: 446