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Identity & Community
00000176-e6f7-dce8-adff-f6f770f80000Thirty years ago, the Pittsburgh region was losing more of its population than it was attracting each year, with young adults accounting for most of the exodus.Today the region’s population of 20-to-30-somethings, known as Millennials or Gen Y, is on the rise. Millennials increasingly choose to stay or move to Pittsburgh from other towns. Like each generation before them, they bring a unique blend of attitudes and characteristics that reflect their experiences and they’re reshaping Pittsburgh in some interesting ways.This web series reflects the views of Pittsburgh’s next generation, what they have to say about themselves, their community, and where they live and work.

Quinn Elliott of the Big Idea Bookstore on Finding Community in Pittsburgh

Quinn Elliott from East Liberty holds herself and the city to a high standard.

As a volunteer at The Big Idea Bookstore and Cafe in Bloomfield, she advocates for deep thought and strong, grassroots communities. The Big Idea is a worker-owned, community operated bookstore that advocates for alternative lifestyles and radical cultures.

Just like Quinn, the not-for-profit collaborative hopes to create a space to build open and empowering communities.

As a Millennial, Quinn holds a unique and optimistic vision for Pittsburgh’s future.

Quinn on Being a Millennial in the Steel City:

  • Quinn identifies as a “radical queer,” which she says provides her with a framework to think critically about her own actions and decisions. Rather than accepting life through the terms of an authority, Quinn believes in being ethically engaged with her surroundings.
  • Pittsburgh has potential, but a lot of work to do: Quinn notes a temptation to look at positive steps taken by other cities such as San Francisco and Philadelphia and wish Pittsburgh would step up its game, but she is aware of the need for patience. She holds a five-year plan for how she would like to see the city progress.
  • At this point in her life, Quinn’s toughest challenge is committing to a path. Despite the clarity her visions and ideas for her future, she struggles to assemble the various pieces of her life. She describes the process as a balancing act between openness and certainty that is both stressful and exciting.
  • It’s tough building a network: her biggest hope is for the Steel City to build intentional communities. Her ideal community allows people to be fully comfortable and connected to those around them.

Listen to the full interview with Quinn here: