Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Sleeping Giant Awakens -- perhaps -- from a sidelined, silent state when told to freeze out

We've got our problems in Pittsburgh. Some are epic. Furthmore, a few of them are complex. And as the city has been on the brink for some years now, I've been astonished at how little the folks at CMU and Pitt have done with the city and for the city.

I'm not talking about PILOT funding of city services. CMU and Pitt should not be paying a tuition tax.

The type of help I have been seeking has been absent, mostly. I've been looking for professors and grad students to awaken in serious ways to help fix the city.

Sure, some things have happened. But, few. Bill Peduto did a CMU web BBS thingie on a couple of different instances. They both imploded, became out of date, and served as a drag. Archives vanished. Some electronic voting and cyber option focus groups sprang to life with a conference or two as well. The grand eletronic voting machines, not iTronics nor Debolt, with open source and off-the-shelf hardware is still just a pipe dream.

Then there was the Pirates. CMU put in some cash and owned part of the baseball team for a while some years ago. That's when the losses seemed to came at a fever pitch.

CMU did save Schenley Golf Course, I think. Ball sports are not a strength of CMU, it seems.

Now, after being told to hold spring break in the middle of a ski jump also known as Forbes Ave, the giant of CMU is starting to push its nose into the realm of city dealings and solution crunching. GREAT. Bring it on. We want the creative problem solvers to care about the city and do things in the public realm in earnest.
CMU's Priya Narasimhan "loves this city." She worked with CMU students and created the "smart football " and other kwel gizmos,

This week they put up a snow status site after pulling two all-nighters.

Go to the site,, to
report road conditions and snow removal progress. Priya invites all to take a look and add your insights.

1 comment:

Priya Narasimhan said...

Thank you so much for the kind comments. I think that the How's My Street? website is truly a testament to the spirit of Pittsburghers. It's human nature to help, especially when asked, and people in Pittsburgh exemplify that in spades--they will volunteer information and time, if someone else can catch a break. That's what this site really did. The people who submit the entries might not get their streets plowed in time, but they certainly hope that somebody else gets home safely. I love this city because of its people. I moved here because of them.