Postcard From Braddock, Pennsylvania
If You’re Thinking Of Living In: Braddock, Penn. read this:
It doesn’t get much worse than Braddock, Pennsylvania. Its steel industry has gone belly-up; the population has fled; and retail businesses are non-existent. The filmmakers of Cormac McCarthy’s, The Road, needed a post-Armegeddon-looking cityscape for recent shooting and chose Braddock. A collision of economic and demographic forces over the decades, punctuated by the crisis, has effectively turned the town of 3,000 inhabitants a half hour from Pittsburgh into a ghost town.
Enter John Fetterman, an enterprising community organizer with a public policy degree from Harvard, who is now Braddock’s mayor and it working to attract urban homesteaders to his town with fire sale real estate prices. Need a car dealership? Get one for $70,000. There’s also a mill and a junior high school available. Fetterman foresees a precedent in Braddock: if he can get the town back on its feet, then any ailing post-industrial city in American can as well.
Similar to Mayor Fetterman’s vision for urban renewal is Green for All founder Van Jones’. Jones has laid a blueprint for revitalizing blighted local economies in the US with an infusion of green jobs. Could it save Braddock?