September 18 2013

The Rebirth of Pittsburgh’s Strip District

Strip District, Pittsbrgh

While many of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods have seen major renovations in the last fifty years, none have gone through such an extreme change as the Strip District. Getting its name from its location, being a small, half-square mile strip of land along the banks of the Allegheny River just north of the city’s downtown corridor, the district is bustling with people and energy at all times throughout the day.

The Strip District site has had many different uses throughout its time. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the district was noted for its prominent position along the river, making it a marketable spot for factories and steel mills. By becoming the early home of such big companies as the U.S. Steel Plant and the H.J. Heinz Company, the Strip District quickly became the center of industry for Pittsburgh.

With the closing of  many of the steel plants in the downtown area of Pittsburgh during the 60′s and 70′s, the Strip District lost a large portion of its business. With the need to change with the rest of the city, the neighborhood, which had become littered with abandoned buildings and empty factories, stayed alive by re-branding itself as a notable market district.

St. Stanislaus Church, Pittsburgh

The numerous streets in the Strip District are now lined with shops and boutiques, with different art, food and culture mixing in the relatively small area. A haven for citizens of the city and tourists alike, the shops are always an active place on weekends. People come to the Strip District to eat exotic foods, buy unique antiques from the Pittsburgh area and marvel in the different styles of architecture. From modern day buildings to hundred year old monuments, such as the famous St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, there is always something to be admired. By turning this old, derelict community into a thriving marketplace, the Strip District has found a way to reinvent itself in the modern age to remain a viable part of the Pittsburgh community.

Do you feel other cities could follow the Strip District’s reinvention to help a failing neighborhood?

Credits: Images taken by Matt Hudak. Data linked to sources.

Greg Shermeto

Greg Shermeto is a recent graduate at the State University of New York at Buffalo with a B.A. in Environmental Design. While studying, Greg worked on projects including the South Buffalo Trolley and Trail System, which helped to connect the Western New York Railway Historical Society’s railroad museum to the downtown corridor. He has also worked for the University at Buffalo’s Center for Urban Studies, where Greg assisted with the redevelopment of the Perry Choice neighborhood in downtown Buffalo. Greg also spent a semester studying the built environment of the Baltic States in Estonia and Latvia. Greg’s interests include transportation planning and community design, and the efforts to make urban areas accessible and functional for the future. For the Grid, Greg will be writing about planning issues and topics about the city of Pittsburgh, where he currently resides.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 at 9:26 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environmental Design, History/Preservation, Infrastructure, Land Use, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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