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Quality of life and demographic-racial dimensions of differences in most liveable Pittsburgh


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This research examines quality of life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is well-known for its regeneration from its past as the ‘Smoky City’ and the ‘Steel City’. The shuttering of steel mills and manufacturing plants in the 1980s gave way to a more liveable city in the following decades. Pittsburgh’s post-industrial economic development and revitalisation has led to it receiving numerous accolades for liveability, but infrequently in mainstream and government centres the question is reposed: is most liveable Pittsburgh most liveable for everyone? This research examines results from the 2018 Quality of Life Survey in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and compares these results to a 2011 Quality of Life Survey, both conducted by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR). The methods used include survey research analysis, statistical analysis and geographic information systems (GIS) to understand differences in how residents view Pittsburgh’s quality of life. The survey results are linked with data on community conditions and GIS to understand how differences in neighbourhoods affect residents’ subjective views of quality of life. The 2018 survey finds improvement in resident assessment of many quality of life indicators, but suggests that views of quality of life point to continued protracted problems, with African-American Pittsburghers reporting significantly lower levels of satisfaction on many quality of life indicators compared to white residents. This analysis contends that there are critical differences in liveability and quality of life among residents in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, and the city and region have not done enough to address these differences in improving equity and social justice in Pittsburgh.

Keywords: geographic information systems (GIS); liveability; neighbourhood conditions; quality of life; spatial analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University Center for Social and Urban Research, University of Pittsburgh

Publication date: January 1, 2022

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  • Journal of Urban Regeneration & Renewal is the essential peer-reviewed journal for all professionals concerned with physical, economic and social regeneration of urban communities. It publishes in-depth articles and real world case studies on the latest strategy, policy making and current and best practice in the field. Guided by its expert Editor and Editorial Board, each quarterly 100-page issue does not publish advertising but rather in-depth articles written by and for urban regeneration professionals analysing current and best practice in the planning, consultation, funding, delivery and long-term management of regeneration programmes, as well as the latest policy making, developments and research in the field.

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