Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Our 50 Years: When We Tried to Predict the Future

25 years ago, we predicted what the Pittsburgh of 2019 would look like. We were ... close?



Last month, we marked our 50th year with a tally of the greatest Pittsburghers of years past. A quarter-century ago, however, we were forward-focused with our silver anniversary celebration.

Our feature, “After the Renaissances,” a well-reported piece of prognostication by Paul Kengor, makes some educated guesses about the Pittsburgh of 2019 with the help of a bevy of civic and industrial leaders (many of whom are still in positions of power today).

The main takeaway: Computers are an industry now, and Pittsburghers will soon make money off of them! “The region’s strength in cable companies, software and telecommunications could be an important industry cluster,” Kengor wrote. “In fact, our region employs the third highest number of people in software development — behind only Seattle and the Silicon Valley.”

In true mid-’90s fashion, little attempt was made to define what such “software” jobs actually were. We knew the jobs were coming, but we didn’t really get this whole Internet thing just yet. Despite our ability to anticipate work in the mysterious world of telecommunications, however, we were more than a bit off when trying to forecast health-care trends. We can’t take the blame for that, though — we went straight to the source.

“‘In five years the health care industry will be less in size than it is now,’ [UPMC President Jeffrey] Romoff predicts. ‘My guess is 10 to 20 percent smaller in Pittsburgh and the nation. In 10 years it will be substantially less, possibly by 40 percent.’”

So he was a bit off, there.

Kengor’s piece, like many predictions at the time, assumed that effective and long-lasting health-care reform under the Clinton administration was essentially a done deal; the assumption was that we were about to all get a lot healthier, and the insurance industry was going to take a big hit. Our forecast for the development of Pittsburgh as a medical research hub was sunnier, however: “Additionally, the type of research at UPMC ... could continue to allow it to thrive,” Kengor wrote. “Under Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, UPMC is again changing the science of transplantation.”

The piece went deep on the potential impact of the then-forthcoming Mon-Fayette Expressway (apparently anticipating Charleroi as a future hub of activity), but nailed one future travel expansion: the North Shore connector. We were all perhaps a bit too optimistic about further light-rail expansion, though. “[City residents will] benefit from the Spine Line — a two-section extension of the current rail transit system connecting downtown to the North Side ... and to Oakland (maybe eventually to Squirrel Hill).”

Still waiting.

We did see PNC Park coming, although we failed to anticipate the rise of corporate naming rights; we naturally assumed that the new home of the Pittsburgh Pirates would be dubbed “Clemente Park.” While we were a mile or so off on its location (we guessed the Strip District), one of the happier predictions is that of riverfront revitalization, an ambition of the early ’90s that continues to be explored and expanded a quarter-century later.

We even speculated on who would be responsible for the revitalization of Pittsburgh’s riverfront property. “Charles J. Betters, president of Bet-Tech International Inc. in Aliquippa, is eyeing a 13-acre site beneath the Birmingham Bridge, which he hopes to develop with high-profile New York developer Donald Trump.”

1994 Pittsburghers, listen ... that’s not what Donald Trump will be up to in 2019.  

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

For Three Days, Sesame Street Will be in Pittsburgh

Kids can join Big Bird, Elmo and more Muppets as Sesame Workshop plans three days of events during a stop in Pittsburgh in June.

Penguins’ Lament: ‘To an Extent We Beat Ourselves’

The answer to a self-inflicted postseason sweep must begin with getting the players and their coach back on the same page regarding what’s required for survival in the playoffs.

Picklesburgh to Double in Size for Its Fifth Year

Nation’s top speciality food festival to spill out onto Ft. Duquesne Boulevard.

A Look at The Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh says hello to Alta Via, Leo. A Public House, a new Milk Shake Factory location and more.

Is Your Pittsburgh Street on This Year's Road Repaving List?

The City of Pittsburgh has announced its street paving plan for 2019. You’re one click away from finding out if your street or route to work is on the list.

Downtown Pittsburgh Remains a Classic Rock Haven

PM intern Amanda Myers recounts the radio-rock adventures that life as a Downtown student has made possible.

The 400-Word Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The latest chapter in the Hong Kong martial-arts franchise gets a Pittsburgh release.

The 400-Word Review: The Curse of La Llorana

The latest chapter in the Conjuring franchise concerns a sinister spirit from folklore.

Details Shine in Metallic Hip-Hop Wedding

A graffiti-decorated cake, a sequined jacket for the groom and a violinist playing hip-hop covers wowed guests at this Strip District wedding.

New Restaurants Coming to Smallman Galley and Federal Galley

Look for New Mexican cuisine, customizable chicken and more as half of the Pittsburgh Galley Group concepts change in the next few months.

Design Goes to the Dogs with BARKitecture

Featuring innovative indoor animal shelters designed by local architects and artists going up for auction, the event at PerLora raises money for Animal Friends.

The 400-Word Review: Hellboy

The cult comic character gets a reboot in this R-rated action flick.

5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

For those who can’t stand the idea of leaving their dogs home alone on a beautiful day, these dog-friendly stores, restaurants and bars in the Pittsburgh area welcome humans and canines alike.

The 400-Word Review: The Silence

Netflix's new horror film has a plot unfortunately similar to a giant hit. Can it succeed in spite of that bit of bad luck?

Popular Fried Chicken and Beer Hall Landing in Pittsburgh

The Cincinnati-based restaurant has signed a lease for a 6,000-square-foot space Downtown.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


For Three Days, Sesame Street Will be in Pittsburgh

For Three Days, Sesame Street Will be in Pittsburgh

Kids can join Big Bird, Elmo and more Muppets as Sesame Workshop plans three days of events during a stop in Pittsburgh in June.

Comments

Picklesburgh to Double in Size for Its Fifth Year

Picklesburgh to Double in Size for Its Fifth Year

Nation’s top speciality food festival to spill out onto Ft. Duquesne Boulevard.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
A Look at The Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

A Look at The Latest Restaurant Openings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh says hello to Alta Via, Leo. A Public House, a new Milk Shake Factory location and more.

Comments

New Restaurants Coming to Smallman Galley and Federal Galley

New Restaurants Coming to Smallman Galley and Federal Galley

Look for New Mexican cuisine, customizable chicken and more as half of the Pittsburgh Galley Group concepts change in the next few months.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

5 Best Spots to Hang Out with Your Dog

For those who can’t stand the idea of leaving their dogs home alone on a beautiful day, these dog-friendly stores, restaurants and bars in the Pittsburgh area welcome humans and canines alike.

Comments

5 Races You (Yes, You) Can Run This Year

5 Races You (Yes, You) Can Run This Year

Even novice runners can work their way up to these fun and (mildly) challenging races.

Comments


Downtown Pittsburgh Remains a Classic Rock Haven

Downtown Pittsburgh Remains a Classic Rock Haven

PM intern Amanda Myers recounts the radio-rock adventures that life as a Downtown student has made possible.

Comments

Take Your Video-Game Habit Into the Real World at Rogue Laser Grounds

Take Your Video-Game Habit Into the Real World at Rogue Laser Grounds

The pop-up laser tag arena takes the mechanics of online video games into a undeniably cool setting.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Penguins’ Lament: ‘To an Extent We Beat Ourselves’

Penguins’ Lament: ‘To an Extent We Beat Ourselves’

The answer to a self-inflicted postseason sweep must begin with getting the players and their coach back on the same page regarding what’s required for survival in the playoffs.

Comments

Pens Don't Need to Overwhelm Islanders, Just Outlast Them

Pens Don't Need to Overwhelm Islanders, Just Outlast Them

Patience, persistence and taking what the game gives is critical in Round One.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The 400-Word Review: Master Z: Ip Man Legacy

The latest chapter in the Hong Kong martial-arts franchise gets a Pittsburgh release.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: The Curse of La Llorana

The 400-Word Review: The Curse of La Llorana

The latest chapter in the Conjuring franchise concerns a sinister spirit from folklore.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Details Shine in Metallic Hip-Hop Wedding

Details Shine in Metallic Hip-Hop Wedding

A graffiti-decorated cake, a sequined jacket for the groom and a violinist playing hip-hop covers wowed guests at this Strip District wedding.

Comments

Matching Bridesmaids’ Dresses May Be a Thing of the Past

Matching Bridesmaids’ Dresses May Be a Thing of the Past

Brides choosing one (or several) different colors, but leaving the design up to the bridesmaids, help attendants feel comfortable within their own budget.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Design Goes to the Dogs with BARKitecture

Design Goes to the Dogs with BARKitecture

Featuring innovative indoor animal shelters designed by local architects and artists going up for auction, the event at PerLora raises money for Animal Friends.

Comments

Room2Grow Reveals Your Baby's Gender — With a Nursery

Room2Grow Reveals Your Baby's Gender — With a Nursery

After designing a room around their child’s gender reveal, Chris and Stacy Galiyas are shopping around a reality show where they do the same for other expectant parents.

Comments