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Pittsburgh Perspectives  

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Thursday, January 10, 2019  09:05 AM  (15)

Pittsburgh's North Side and what might have been

In Pittsburgh, some redevelopment efforts are more consequential because they never took place. In the early 1950s, plans to redevelop a large area of Pittsburgh's North Side included a concept to construct large high rise apartments to replace virtually all of the residential homes between Allegheny General Hospital and Brighton Avenue.

If completed, virtually all of the housing stock of the Central Northside would have been replaced by nearly five thousand individual housing units projected to be part of just 16 megalithic residential structures. The plan would have required nearly complete demolition of existing homes including the area known as Pittsburgh's Mexican War Streets.   

Many other large-scale redevelopment plans for the North Side were eventually completed, including the construction of Allegheny Center Mall, but the plan for the Central North Side never moved forward. Eventually, efforts to preserve the housing of the Mexican War Streets emerged in the 1960s and today much of the neighborhood's legacy housing stock remains. The images below show what the neighborhood looked like early in the 1950s, and what was proposed to replace it. 



Source: North Side Study, by the Pittsburgh Regional Planning Association and the Pittsburgh City Planning Commission, April 1954.



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