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Industrial Restructuring and Urban Change in the Pittsburgh Region: Developmental, Ecological, and Socioeconomic Trade-offs

William Haller, Clemson University


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This article traces the steel industry's restructuring during the 1980s and its consequences for older industrial regions tied historically to steel production. These regions contained large working-class communities that declined because of deindustrialization and restructuring. This article first examines the transition of the steel industry from its roots in extractive and primary manufacturing to a scrap-recycling industry that minimizes labor and raw material inputs. This transition parallels the structural changes in other industries addressed by political economic perspectives, such as the new international division of labor and globalization of production. The article then focuses on the socioeconomic and structural changes, using the Pittsburgh region as an example, including the employment and land-use consequences of deindustrialization and the relationship between losses in manufacturing employment and increases in persistent joblessness and poverty associated with growth of the urban underclass.

Key words

deindustrialization; economic restructuring; underclass; uneven development

Copyright © 2005 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087