Urban History Association Conference

UHA Tenth Biennial Conference: Reparations & the Right to the City

Pittsburgh, PA October 26-29, 2023

Thursday, October 26, 2023

1:00pm - 4:00pm

Pittsburgh's Jewish History


The tour will begin at the Heinz History Center, where participants can view archival materials related to Pittsburgh's Jewish history, as well as documentation from the cross-cultural community response to the October 27, 2018 synagogue shooting. From there, the tour will visit the former Irene Kaufman Settlement House auditorium in the Hill District and learn about the Curtaineers, an integrated theater troupe created in the 1940s and 1950s in response to a shift in neighborhood demographics. The auditorium is now home to a community arts space called ACH Clear Pathways. The tour will follow Murray Avenue through Squirrel Hill, showing the evolution of the once predominately Jewish business district with the arrival of AAPI immigrants over the past two decades. The final stop will be The Rotunda Collaborative in East Liberty/Highland Park, which is a gorgeous former synagogue being converted into a multi-use community arts space.

This tour is sponsored by:

Thursday, October 26, 2023

2:00pm - 5:00pm

From Industrial to Post-Industrial:(Re)Development in Pittsburgh and Braddock


Pittsburgh and its neighbor Braddock have been hailed as leaders in post-industrial redevelopment, the former for its surprising ascendance in the 1990s, the latter for a more DIY approach made famous by now-U.S. Senator John Fetterman. This tour will visit three major industrial redevelopment sites from the last 20+ years, where we will hear from participants and experts who can unpack this complicated history, present, and future:

Downtown Braddock, where we will hear from representatives of The Hollander Project, a co-working space and business incubator for women entrepreneurs from Braddock and the surrounding Mon Valley.

the Homestead Steel Works Pump House in Munhall, an important part of the U.S. labor movement now part of The Waterfront mall redevelopment, where we will hear from interpreters from the heritage-oriented nonprofit organization Rivers of Steel.

Hazelwood Green in Pittsburgh, an ongoing 178-acre waterfront redevelopment of the Jones & Laughlin Steel Company, where we will hear from a Pittsburgh city planner and a community activist involved in anti-gentrification and displacement efforts related to the project.

A portion of the ticket price will go to snacks from Community Kitchen Pittsburgh, a not-for-profit organization that addresses structural employment issues and food access.

Topics from the tour will be further explored during the session "Contesting the Contested City: Towards a New Understanding of Creative Placemaking."

Tour leaders:

Michael Carriere, Professor of History, Milwaukee School of Engineering

Rebecca Kiernan, former Director of Sustainability and Resilience, City of Pittsburgh

David Schalliol, Associate Professor of Sociology, St. Olaf College

Representatives of the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning, the Hollander Project, Hazelwood Initiative, Community Kitchen Pittsburgh, and Rivers of Steel

Friday, October 27, 2023

10:00am - 12:00pm 

Pittsburgh History Tour at the Heinz History Center 


Includes From Slavery to Freedom exhibit, Jewish Pittsburgh and Tree of Life massacre project and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum includes Negro Leagues, Pirates, Steelers, Penguins and more. Easy walk from The Westin Pittsburgh. Includes a behind-the-scene of History Center.

Friday, October 27, 2023

2:30pm - 5:00pm 

Carrie Furnaces Industrial Tour 


Declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006, Carrie, as it’s affectionately known, entices visitors to marvel at the scale and legacy of its industrial might. A remnant of the legendary U.S. Steel Homestead Steel Works, the Carrie Blast Furnaces are a vestige of Pittsburgh’s 20th century domination of the steel industry.

During this two-hour guided tour, you’ll hear stories about the site’s technology (including why it is nationally significant) along with the iron-making process, from the movement of the raw materials to the tapping of the furnaces that produced fiery molten iron. You will also get to know the culture of the industrial workers and the communities in which they lived - historically and presently - and how these relationships influenced the past and help to inform the future of the region.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

9:00am – 11:30am

Hill District Tour


We will start at Freedom Corner, corner Crawford and Centre) to discuss effects of Urban Renewal in the late 1950s and observe current efforts at revitalization. We will visit the August Wilson house on Bedford Avenue (https://augustwilsonhouse.org), followed by stops on and around Centre Avenue that Wilson walked by on a regular basis. We will examine current new construction and the hoped for “Rebirth of The Hill” with business and residential initiatives, including Crawford Roberts and the New Granada Theatre complex. If possible, read Laurence Glasco and Christopher Rawson, August Wilson: Pittsburgh Places in His Life and Plays.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

12:30 - 3:00pm

Downtown Pittsburgh Walking Tour


A guided walking tour of downtown Pittsburgh with insights into the architecture, history and culture of America’s greatest industrial city. We will see Richardson’s Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail; Jansson & Abbott’s William Penn Hotel; Frederick Osterling’s Union Trust Building; Henry Hornbostel’s City County Building; Daniel Burnham’s Frick Building; Isaac Hobbs’ Dollar Savings Bank; Philip Johnson’s PPG Building; and many others as we stroll along Grant Street (Government), down Fourth Avenue (Financial), to Market Square (Business), and back up Penn Avenue (Cultural district).

Sunday, October 29, 2023

2:00pm - 4:00pm

Stories from Pittsburgh's Chinatown

Join the Heinz  History Center for a rich celebration of stories from Pittsburgh’s Chinatown.

Register Here

Featuring two short film screenings and a panel discussion, this event will vividly explore family and communal narratives from this long-overlooked neighborhood. Panelists (including community members, artists, and experts) will share their memories and research reflections on the history and legacy of Pittsburgh’s Chinatown.

Attendees will learn how Chinese Americans established businesses, started families, and created community despite the racism and discrimination that they faced. Participants will also garner insights into the decades-long partnerships and advocacy within the Chinese American community that has resulted in broader recognition of this history.

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