I spent a recent beautiful Saturday in April visiting the AlphaLab Gear facilities in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Cole Wolfson was our host, and we both learned a lot and had a great time. Thoughts and a picture below:
- I am guessing that Pittsburgh in particular is appreciative of Gov. Thornburgh’s vision of the future, because unlike a lot of the rest of the Rust Belt Pittsburgh has been a bright spot (with a few hiccups) as far as economic restructuring.
- Prioritizing small, technically innovative businesses is still a sound development strategy, one my own town of Akron has followed with some success (as exemplified by the Bounce Innovation Hub, among other spaces). The fact that AlphaLab Gear, Pittsburgh edition, still makes a solid return on the investment the tax money the state grants them speaks to the long-term prospects of this approach.
- I’m always the idealist, and the success of these types of spaces (and their commitment to intentional, deliberate, and community-based innovation) makes me feel that we can solve our problems if we trust in local people.