Introduction to the Neighborhood
Situated on the Monongahela River is the neighborhood of Southside Flats. Within its boundaries is one of the entertainment hubs of Pittsburgh. The main thoroughfare of E Carson St. is inhabited with bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
The early history of the neighborhood saw it as a beacon of industry with its proximity to rivers and railways. At the end of the nineteenth century, it would boast a steelworks factory that employed a sizable portion of the Southside residents. Many of these residents were immigrants from Eastern Europe and brought many of their traditions with them to Pittsburgh. This way of life would continue until the 1980s when the steel plant was shut down. The area was absent any major employer until 1993 when the City of Pittsburgh Urban and Redevelopment Authority (URA) bought the land once occupied by the steel factory. The land was bought by the URA with an eye towards commercial development of the area (Pittsburgh City Council). The land eventually was used to build the SouthSide Works complex.
The complex officially opened in 2004 and injected new lifeblood into the neighborhood. This new identity was welcomed. In the Fall of 2010 there were complaints from local residents to the Pittsburgh police about the acts of the patrons to the area’s bars on weekends. This resulted in an increase of parking violations enforcement for a month that resulted in a high number of tickets and towed cars. The parking enforcement has been the only time in the past few years that the media has covered the area despite the area having one of the highest crime rates in the city (Annual Report 2009).
The construction of the SouthSide Works complex highlights a different aspect of city life. During the past two decades, many cities have had to cope with deindustrialization as a result of factories closing or outsourcing. They are left with vacant plants and have begun to take steps to address their problems by trying to attract tourists with such areas as the Works. A city in a similar position was Baltimore as highlighted in the article “’A Third-World City in the First World’: Social Exclusion, Racial Inequality, and Sustainable Development in Baltimore” by Mark Levine which addresses the issues of Baltimore in its quest for more tourism but is hindered by its high crime rate. The plight of Baltimore is also highlighted in the television program “The Wire.”
Summary of Demographic and Crime Profile
When looking at the population numbers of Southside Flats and Allegheny County, there are not many differences. The differences are that the neighborhood has relatively few African-Americans living within it (around 2.5%, while Allegheny County has 12%) (U.S. Census 2000). This is likely due to the history the neighborhood has as a destination for people of Eastern European descent, which would account for the over 95% of the neighborhood that is white (U.S. Census Bureau). Another...