Ever since I spotted this article about the Pittsburgh Regional Indicators Project, I’ve been nerdily perusing the project website, PittsburghToday.org. The Post-Gazette article is kinda rough in their handling of the data, proclaiming PGH unhealthy and lacking in diversity, but if you actually look at the nicely color-coded bar graphs for the fantastic array of key indicators, it’s easy to see that Pittsburgh is right at home with other regional cities. For example, the PG makes much of our smoking problem:
Health is a major issue. Pittsburgh has more smokers (22.2 percent of the population) than all but three other cities.
But the smoking rate in the ‘Burgh is but 1.8% higher than the regional average, 5.8% higher than the lowest city studied, Minneapolis-St. Paul (okay, ouch), and 4.1% lower than the highest city, Detroit (nyah, nyah). And homes in PGH are actually still appreciating in value – nyah again.
If you are a big nerd like me and love charts and graphs and laughing at Detroit, you will get a great deal of joy out of this project. Categories and subcategories of demographics, arts and entertainment, education, crime, housing, health care, transportation – this will keep you busy for days. Yes, you may thank me.
Oh, and some reassurance for those of you who may be dreading a transportation strike. We had a 3-day bus stoppage out here last month, and traffic was lousy but when I actually got to work I was pleasantly surprised. No one was able to come to my workplace to seek services, so I got to spend the days surfing the internet and playing with my BlackBerry. Sure, that could theoretically get boring, and theoretically I sympathize with those who actually use public transportation, but seriously, the “days off” were nice. Enjoy!