Downtown Pittsburgh is a defining force in the region’s economic and cultural vitality. A healthy downtown supports jobs, a stronger tax base, and amenities that benefit the larger region. The state of Pittsburgh’s urban core illustrates how post pandemic challenges and opportunities have converged.
There are encouraging trends. Downtown audiences are returning to theatres, sports venues and events. Travel is resuming, bringing back conventioneers and in-person meetings. Worrying signs also exist. Office occupancy remains well below pre- pandemic levels. Restaurants and the businesses that serve the downtown workforce have been affected. Vacant spaces and fewer pedestrians diminish the corridor’s liveliness. Public safety concerns have grown amid drug or gun-related activity. Dislocating factors have left more people vulnerable and unhoused downtown, elevating the plight of those experiencing homelessness. Public and private sector leaders are tackling these issues in numerous ways. The Benter Foundation is supporting partner efforts to jumpstart Downtown Pittsburgh’s re-emergence from the pandemic. Focused on activation, these programs connect to other initiatives aimed at making Downtown Pittsburgh a vibrant and welcoming destination for all.