Pittsburgh is a city in western Pennsylvania which lies at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers where the two form the Ohio River. It was once a major steel producer; steel has closed down but the influence of the steel industry is still felt on the city's culture today.
Two health insurers dominate the city and are constantly competing with each other and for control of hospitals there: Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield and UPMC Health Plan Inc. (affiliated with the largest hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center).
The city has three professional sports teams: in an unusual show of unity all three wear the same color scheme of black, gold, and white:
- The Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, one of the league's premier franchises
- The Pittsburgh Pirates of the MLB's National League, which has fallen on hard times being a small-market team in a league which is dominated by larger-market teams (and is structured in such a way that the large-market teams have a competitive edge)
- The Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL, which were on the verge of relocation but are now one of the league's top teams
In 1908, the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce established a Flood Control Commission which developed a plan calling for nine reservoirs at the headwaters of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. The plan was endorsed at the national level by Progressives who wanted centralized inland waterway development under a single authority. This approach was rejected by Congress and the Army Corps of Engineers. However, in the 1920s funds were appropriated for studies of the flood problem in the upper Ohio valley and the Corps was instructed to broaden its approach to flood control to include the use of reservoirs. On the eve of the great Pittsburgh flood of 1936, a bill providing for nine reservoirs above Pittsburgh had passed the House of Representatives and was being debated in the Senate Commerce Committee. The flood provided the necessary impetus to obtain funds for the first five reservoirs.
In the 1930s, Pittsburgh's efforts to obtain federal funds for flood control continued; however, the characteristic unified leadership of upper class individuals disintegrated. This earlier pattern of unified elite leadership reemerged in 1943 when the Allegheny Conference on Community Development (ACCD) assumed responsibility for the overall economic development of the area. The Chamber of Commerce, operating as an arm of the ACCD, continued to lead the campaign for additional federal flood control money. There was a continuing relation between efforts to attract private capital for Renaissance Pittsburgh and the flood control program. In 1960, construction began on the Allegheny Reservoir, the largest and last of nine dams.
- Roland M, Smith, "The Politics of Pittsburgh Flood Control, 1936-1960," Pennsylvania History 1977 44(1): 3-24,
- Levy, Francesca. "America's Best Places to Raise a Family", Forbes.com, June 7, 2010.