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August 23, 2011

Fix 2.0 : Solutions from New Pittsburgh and the Creative Class

Local businesses that can be said to represent "new Pittsburgh", rather than the brick-and-mortar "Olde Pittsburgh", converged for a adhoc meeting at Nadine's on the SouthSide to discuss what they could do to keep the obviously crumbling Pittsburgh infrastructure - as demonstrated by Friday's four deaths due to drowning in rain - from affecting their "Burgh 2.0" operations.

The meeting started with CMU ex-pat Dr. Richard Florida, speaking on an iPad via Skype, who cautioned that "the creative class, Your City 2.0, sits on the foundation of traditional city services and infrastructure. Once you start drowning people in the rain, the creatives will be out of town on the next MegaBus, kiss them and their tweets goodbye". The waiter serving the table interrupted to say, "You know MegaBus has wifi, right?"

Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, suggested that the nearby Washington Blvd. Bike Oval could be a resource. "If we stored a dozen of these bike-boat kits at the Oval, in times of emergency riders could use their bicycles to save cagers motorists from killer rainfall."

The Sandcastle spokeperson chimed in, "We have a core competency at distributing flotation devices, like the heavy-duty tubes for the Lazy River. We could open a booth on Washington Blvd, ready to hand out tubes whenever it begins to rain."

Michael Cohen, co-owner of Just Ducky Tours, said "with the right incentives, we could establish a ticket office and boarding facility in Highland Park. During normal conditions, we'd target people who on Zoo trips and proceed down the boulevard to the Allegheny River. During non-standard conditions such as rain, we could keep our fleet in reserve to support rescue operations."

Dawn Keezer, Director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, brought an unexpected nugget: "We've been contacted by a well-known local documentary film-maker who wants to shoot a movie about Pennsylvania floods, both historic - think Johnstown - and in the current time."

She said, "Rick Sebak, who you all know from WQED and "Stuff That's Gone", wants to film a documentary called "Rain and Floods". He's asked that we take no action to disturb the current situation, because he'd like to capture the conditions as they exist, today. He'd like to begin filming whenever it rains."

At this point, Richard Florida (who had been listening) asked, "But when it starts to rain and Sebak and his people start filming... How do you handle the logistics of that?"

"Exactly", said the Film Office honcho, with a knowing smile. "Whenever the rain starts and they begin to film, we'll immediately close the streets - because we can close streets for filming.".

Richard Florida said, "It's the perfect creative class win-win paradox! I think you should go with it". After a consensus recommendation of the Film Office's approach, the meeting convened with a flurry of twitter updates and messenger bags.


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