Pittsburgh

Shawnray Byrd has been represented by the Allegheny County Public Defenders Office four times since 2001.
An-Li Herring / Keystone Crossroads

On a humid summer day, Shawnray Byrd works a new job renovating a home just outside Pittsburgh. During a break, he says he’s grateful to be employed and free.

“It’s like everything is just going uphill now,” he said.

The 37-year-old spent six months in jail after being charged with attempted homicide in 2017.  He said his public defender was crucial to his acquittal in March.

After more than a decade spent in a state financial oversight program, Pittsburgh regained its fiscal independence last month. More than a dozen Pennsylvania cities remain in the program.
Margaret J. Krauss / WESA

On a Monday morning in February, people packed the Pittsburgh mayor’s conference room to witness the city’s successful transition to financial independence — an event lauded as a turning point for the city’s future.

On a recent weekend stroll at Point State Park, in Pittsburgh, visitors sunned themselves in the grass and along the low walls of the park. The park is a triangle of green at the very place where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet to form the Ohio River. At the tip of the Point kids splashed in a fountain, and a rainbow shimmered through the spray. Looking east along the rivers bridges stitched the city together with yellow seams. 

Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

Across the state, students are wrapping up internships and summer jobs, signing up for fall classes and preparing for another school year at one of Pennsylvania's 200+ colleges and universities.

But once they graduate, how many of those students will stay in the area where they were educated?

Boarded Pittsburgh Building
Irina Zhorov / WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced that he wants to use the city’s stock of aging buildings as a tool for economic development. Beyond Pittsburgh, too, Pennsylvania has no shortage of old buildings and some cities have long used them as a selling point.  A new study measured the impact of maintaining older buildings in urban areas and concluded that for cities lucky enough to have them, leveraging them can bring improve development.