Out in the May issue of Pittsburgh Magazine: My profile of Ray Gastil, the city’s new planning director, who has a big vision for the future of Pittsburgh. We biked 25 miles around the city, covering downtown, Mount Washington, the South Side, Hazelwood, Oakland, and the Hill, so I could see neighborhoods through his eyes, and understand where Pittsburgh has been and where we’re headed.

Gastil, I think you’ll find, was refreshingly honest about the challenges and opportunities a planner faces:

“You can’t do planning without being aware of the many pitfalls,” Gastil says, “and the many things that were declared The Most Important Thing in History turned out not to work.” Such as, for example, Boston tearing down the West End or Pittsburgh destroying the Lower Hill. “If you’re not humbled by the history of urban renewal, you don’t know jacks–t about it. Because it is a tough story.”

(Photo by Renee Rosensteel)