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Economy

Bill Peduto: 'Pittsburgh Was Already a Decade Ahead'

Pittsburgh’s mayor talks about the city becoming the capital of autonomous vehicles and the challenge of including everyone in its renewal.
An autonomous vehicle crosses one of Pittsburgh's iconic bridges.
An autonomous vehicle crosses one of Pittsburgh's iconic bridges.Gene J. Puskar/AP

Pittsburgh Mayor William (Bill) Peduto, who just began his second term this year, has presided over a historic era of change in that city. Back in 2002, I wrote my book The Rise of the Creative Class while living in Pittsburgh and teaching at Carnegie Mellon. I dubbed the city my “base case” in the transition from an industrial to a knowledge-based economy. “If Pittsburgh, with all of its assets and its emerging human creativity, somehow can’t make it in the Creative Age,” I wrote, “I fear the future does not bode well for other older industrial communities and established cities.”

Today, it looks like Pittsburgh has made it. It is more likely to be mentioned in the same breath with tech hubs like Austin and Seattle than with its Rust Belt peers.