Friday, November 6, 2009

Buenos Aires Not So Different From Pittsburgh

I've been living, working, and blogging in Buenos Aires for the last month. With that in mind, here are my inevitable comparisons between the cities.

5 Ways Pittsburgh is Like Buenos Aires
  1. Bus Routes - Buenos Aires has over 150 squiggly bus routes. Of course, their bus routes are all run by private companies and don't use public support. Different courses to the same messy result. Additionally, Buenos Aires has countless taxis, subway lines, and commuter and light rail lines. Traffic is still awful.
  2. The Immigration Effect - Buenos Aires had a huge influx of European immigrants (especially Italian, German and Spanish) in the late 1800s. Similarly, Pittsburgh experienced a huge rush of Eastern European and German immigrants during the rise of the steel industry. We have Pierogies and Pennsylvania Macaroni Company. They have great coffee and home-made pastas and amazing ice cream.
  3. Neighborhoods - Like Pittsburgh, Buenos Aires is a city of neighborhoods. There are trendy neighborhoods, under-the-weather neighborhoods, business neighborhoods, and historical neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is incredibly distinct from the other as much as the South Side versus Lawrenceville versus Downtown.
  4. Culture - Buenos Aires is referred to as the "Paris of South America" while Pittsburgh is referred to as the "Paris of Appalachia". Both cities have a grand history of excellent museums and theater, dance and art.
  5. Cost - Buenos Aires is expensive for Argentina, but for Americans it's a great deal. Similarly, Pittsburgh is one of the cheapest high-cultural destinations you can live in. They both had severe market crashes contributing to their undervalue. In Argentina that crash occurred much more recently (in 2001) and they are still struggling to recover from inflation rates and record unemployment.
1 Major Difference
  1. Population - Buenos Aires has a population of over 3 million people, including the metro area, that population swells to 13 million. Pittsburgh is a tiny city comparatively registering in at only 300,000 city residents and 2 million metro residents. The density of shops, restaurants, and buildings is hard to envision. Its population density is 38,862 people/Square mile. Compare that to New York City which falls in at a mere 27,440 people per square mile. Pittsburgh checks in at 5,636 for those curious.

No comments: