You’ve created the next big thing in urban apps. Could you use and extra $5,000? Of course you could! You still have a couple of days to enter your app in the AppMyCity! Prize contest. The prize is organized by the New Cities Foundation and made possible by Google and The Atlantic Cities.
Pittsburgh has formal relationships with 18 cities around the world in locations as diverse as Russia, Paraguay, Israel, Bulgaria, and China. Yet most of these relationships don’t go very far beyond the paper they’re signed on and the resolutions filed away in City Council’s archives. As our economy is diversifying into high tech industries and our universities and medical centers are putting out world-renowned products and research, we have an opportunity to activate these existing relationships and form new ones to create real economic development and cultural exchange opportunities with cities around the world. In fact, just last August I traveled to Gaziantep, Turkey a city on the cusp of a transformation led by eds and meds, to formalize a sister city partnership and meet with leaders in business, government, faith, and the arts. We should capitalize on these relationships and bring new jobs and new investment into Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh was first settled by a diverse and eclectic group of immigrants who came here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to find work, start families, and put down roots. The diversity that comes from immigration brings economic and cultural benefits to a community, and our legacy of immigration is still front and center in neighborhoods like Polish Hill and Deutschtown. In 2011, 7.1% of Pittsburgh residents were foreign born, a 5% increase from 2000. Pittsburgh should seize this opportunity to further encourage the growth and development that new immigrants bring and welcome a new generation of entrepreneurs to our neighborhoods.
Nearly 1,500 young people from all over the world will be convening in Pittsburgh this week to discuss serious global issues. One Young World Pittsburgh is a fantastic opportunity both to show off our city to the world and to learn from representatives from other cities. To help give a big Pittsburgh welcome to the world, I’m working with the New Pittsburgh Collaborative to throw a party for the delegates. This event will spotlight both the beauty and innovation of our city and the passion of our young leaders within a leading-edge venue that’s emblematic of our community progress, inclusion, and development.
In late August, I had the honor to lead a delegation of seven friends and colleagues to create a new sister city in Turkey. The city of Gaziantep in southern Turkey, 30 miles from the Syrian border, reached out to me in the spring — interested in forming a partnership with Pittsburgh to exchange cultural, economic, and educational opportunities. With the help of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Turkish Cultural Center of Pennsylvania, we were able to organize a mission and formalize the partnership. Gaziantep is an ancient city of Mesopotamia, the birthplace of civilization, and recognized as one of the ten fastest growing cities in the world. In 1992, it had a population of 340,000 people — today it has more than 1.4 million.
What do London, Zurich and Pittsburgh have in common? As of this October, they will have all hosted a One Young World summit! Founded in 2009, One Young World is a London-based non-profit that “gathers together young people from around the world, helping them make lasting connections to create positive change.” According to the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, the goal is to develop a global network and to ensure that the concerns and opinions of the next generation of decision-makers and opinion leaders are heard.
Better! Cities & Towns takes note of an article in the Financial Times by Bruce Katz of Brookings Institution. Katz finds a bright spot in the economic landscape — not in any policy trends coming out of Washington — but in the way that cities and metro areas are building on their distinctive strengths to provide innovation and leadership. US metropolitan areas have found that the old consumption model of “Starbucks and stadiums” not only haven’t led to prosperity, they’ve also created “eerily similar urban landscapes across the nation.” What’s working is a three-prong approach.
Global Solutions Pittsburgh strives to build support in this country for a “21st Century foreign policy built on the values of cooperation, teamwork and burden sharing.” They believe in the ideal of world peace though world law through such institutions as the United Nations. Their slogan is “Inspiring America to Engage the World.” Global Solutions Pittsburgh developed the Pittsburgh Human Rights Network and has participated with the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition. Additionally, they offer programs for both teachers and students.
Pittsburgh’s “Eds and Meds” economy is having an unexpected benefit: Our region’s foreign-born residents “comprise the most highly skilled immigrant group in the entire country.” A recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette delves into what the headline calls our “brain gain.” While our region has the lowest immigration rate compared to 15 similar cities in the country, over half of these immigrants hold at least a bachelor’s degree — with a concentration in science and engineering. They note a similar pattern for immigrants in older industrial cities. Certainly a major draw to attracting these highly skilled international workers to Pittsburgh are our research universities. Another benefit that comes from this immigration is that once students study abroad, they often stay to found new companies.
The Silk Screen 2012 Asian American Film Festival will kick off with an opening night Gala on May 11 at the Rivers Club and will end on May 20th. The festival showcases Asian films and filmmakers from Asian cultures. This is the 7th annual festival. Films will be screened from countries that include China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Japan, Kazahkstan, Mali, the Middle East, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, Vietnam and others. There will be 48 showings of 25 movies. Venues include The Regent Square Theater, Harris Theater and Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ Melwood Screening Room. You can see a full list of the films to be screened here and purchase festival passes and Gala tickets here. Opening and closing night film tickets are $20, all other films are $9. Festival passes (4-films and 8-films are also available).