Thursday, January 2, 2014

Open Letter to Mayor-Elect Bill Peduto: Pittsburgh is a Global City, But Even Greater Opportunities Await

Following is the text of the letter delivered Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 to Mayor-Elect Bill Peduto from the Transition Team Global City Economic Development Subcommittee, chaired by GlobalPittsburgh's Director of Marketing, Thomas Buell, Jr.

While Pittsburgh has reinvented itself as a national leader in education, technology, energy and medicine, once again the city finds itself at a crossroads.  And once again, it is time for the city, as the economic and cultural nerve center of the entire region, to evolve.

Bill Peduto addresses the final
meeting of the transition committees.
If Pittsburgh does not find ways to change and adapt to current global markets and forces, it is not an exaggeration to say its population could once again suffer a decline over the next decade (just as it did in the 1980's due to the collapse of the steel industry, which ironically was the result of failure to adapt to the realities of a global economy, not unlike the situation we are in today).  Conversely, if Pittsburgh does make strides to become even more global, it could very well gain tens of thousands of new residents, creating a vibrant and flourishing economy, in the next 10 years.

The Brookings Institution defines 10 traits of a globally-fluent metro area -- what we will refer to as a Global City -- which it says have a “critical relationship to the competitiveness, productivity and prosperity of cities and regions in the 21st century.”

1. Leadership with a Worldview - Local leadership networks with a global outlook have great potential for impact on the global fluency of a metro area.
2. Legacy of Global Orientation - Due to their location, size, and history, certain cities were naturally oriented toward global interaction at an early stage, giving them a first mover advantage
3. Specializations with Global Reach - Cities often establish their initial global position through a distinct economic specialization, leveraging it as a platform for diversification.
4. Adaptability to Global Dynamics - Cities that sustain their market positions are able to adjust to each new cycle of global change.
5. Culture of Knowledge and Innovation - In an increasingly knowledge-driven world, positive development in the global economy requires high levels of human capital to generate new ideas, methods, products, and technologies.
6. Opportunity and Appeal to the World - Metro areas that are appealing, open and opportunity-rich serve as magnets for attracting people and firms from around the world.
7. International Connectivity - Global relevance requires global reach that efficiently connects people and goods to international markets through well-designed, modern infrastructure.
8. Ability to Secure Investment for Strategic Priorities - Attracting investment from a wide variety of domestic and international sources is decisive in enabling metro areas to effectively pursue new growth strategies.
9. Government as Global Enabler - Federal, state, and local governments have unique and complementary roles to play in enabling firms and metro areas to “go global.”
10. Compelling Global Identity - Cities must establish an appealing global identity and relevance in international markets not only to sell the city, but also to shape and build the region around a common purpose.

Pittsburgh demonstrates many of these characteristics, but members of Global City economic development subcommittee share the strong belief that many more opportunities exist to increase Pittsburgh’s global fluency, with strong leadership from the Mayor’s office, which in turn can provide many economic and cultural benefits to everyone in the city. The Pittsburgh region already boasts these qualifications:

- More than 40 international communities represented, all with professional and personal networks spanning the globe
- More than 11,000 international students attend universities in the greater Pittsburgh region
- More than 400 international companies operate here creating more than 53,000 jobs
- Pittsburgh-based companies maintain more than 1,000 operations abroad

A Global City is more attractive to new and existing businesses, entrepreneurial individuals and new residents, creating greater economic growth, vitality, cultural diversity and long-term sustainability to benefit all sectors of the population.

The Mayor should engage with and actively encourage ongoing efforts to attract new businesses, industries and talent to the region, improve access to the city by land and air, and promote the region on an international scale, and use the bully pulpit of his office to ensure that the benefits of global connections are understood, embraced and enjoyed by all of his constituents.

To achieve these goals, the Global City Economic Development Subcommittee proposes the following actions, contained in the attached individual recommendation forms (click on each one to open PDF in new window):

- Form Global City Advisory Council
- Support Global City-to-City Trade Initiatives
- Apply to Become Welcoming City
- Invigorate Pittsburgh Sister Cities Program
- Call for Convening of Pittsburgh Future City Summit in 2015

Respectfully submitted,
Thomas Buell, Jr. - Chair
Chuck Bell
Roger Cranville
Dave DeSimone
Mike Embrescia
Volker Hartkopf
Kanak Iyer
Dusty Kirk
Sam Kamin
Lance Lindauer
Simona Loberant
Robert Penman
Mike Staresinic
Alek Suni
Nicholas Weaver
John Zang

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