Founded in 1758, Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the state of Pennsylvania, the 61st largest city in the United States, and anchors the 22nd largest urban area in the nation. The 2009 estimated population of the city was 311,647, while the seven-county metropolitan area was estimated at 2,354,957. Downtown Pittsburgh retains substantial economic influence, ranking at 25th in the nation for jobs within the urban core (and is 6th in job density).
The characteristic shape of the city’s downtown is a triangular tract (commonly referred to as the Golden Triangle) is carved by the joining of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers to form the Ohio River. Consequently, downtown Pittsburgh is very tight and compact. The city features 151 high-rise buildings (the tallest being U.S. Steel Tower at 841ft), 446 bridges (which is why Pittsburgh is often referred to as “The City of Bridges” and actually has three bridges more than Venice, Italy), two inclined railways, and a pre-revolutionary fortification. The Cultural District comprises a 14-block area of downtown along the Allegheny River. It is packed with theaters and arts venues, and is seeing a growing residential segment. Most significantly, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is embarking on Riverpark, a 4-block mixed-use “green” community, featuring 700 residential units and multiple towers between 20–30 stories.
The Firstside portion of downtown borders the Monongahela River and the historic Mon Wharf and is home to the distinctive PPG Place Gothic glass skyscraper complex. This area is also seeing a growing residential sector, as new condo towers are constructed and historic office towers are converted to residential use. It is also home to Point Park University, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Culinary Institute, a Robert Morris University branch campus and Duquesne University.
The city can be broken down into the Downtown area and four main areas surrounding it. These four surrounding areas are further subdivided into distinct neighborhoods (in total, Pittsburgh contains 90 neighborhoods). These areas, relative to downtown, are known as the North Side/North Shore, South Side/South Hills, East End, and West End.
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