New York, LA, Chicago and now…Pittsburgh? If Ace Hotel is any kind of barometer, the States might have just added a new creative hub to its list, with the brand’s first Pittsburgh outpost set to open in December (and Ace Hotel New Orleans set to follow in 2016). The new Ace Hotel Pittsburgh will open in a converted century-old YMCA building in the East Liberty neighbourhood, an area that Ace describes as possessing a “visible spirit of texture and possibility”.
Whilst we don’t doubt that both Pittsburgh and New Orleans have their own distinctive cultures, people and communities making them vibrant places to live, work and visit, it’s interesting to see a brand like Ace putting down roots outside established creative capitals. Both join other second-tier cities like Austin, Hartford and Detroit – which our contributor James Davidson recently explored – as unexpected up-and-comers grabbing the attention of creatives, companies and developers looking for raw, authentic space to grow.
At this year’s Leadership Lab, the Creative Class Group’s Director of Research, Steven Pedigo, put forward the idea that we shouldn’t think of a world of 600 cities, but of “global connected hubs – rather than the world being flat, it is spiky with homogenisation from hub to hub”. On the creation of new hubs like Pittsburgh, he explains:
“As we come together in cities, to live and to work, to play and to create, CCG’s research shows that Creative Class members are attracted and inspired by cities that are authentic and unique. With Pittsburgh’s storied history and creative ethos, it’s not surprising to see more and more creative class types – designers, artists, entrepreneurs, techies and scientists – looking to Pittsburgh as a travel destination.”
Whoever gets there first, what’s certain is that the more brands like Ace set up camp in such second-tier cities, the more other creative organisations and individuals will follow. We’ll be keeping our eye on this trend and seeing how it kicks off globally…