13 August 2012 – The three “Cs”, civic leaders, corporate leaders and citizens working together, are what makes good cities great, former Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy says.
Mr Murphy, now a senior fellow of the US Urban Land Institute, presented a vision for Sydney during a public lecture hosted by the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering and The US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney late last month.
He drew on the transformation of Pittsburgh, while he was mayor, from a rusty steel town wasteland to one of the world most liveable cities, leading to lessons which can be drawn on to revitalise Sydney.
Mr Murphy said Sydney already had the makings of “a very vibrant, world-class city” and he had been impressed by many developments including the Opera House and the city’s myriad parks.
“It’s about a vision (and) Sydney is testament to that,” he said.
“I look at the Opera House, and as painful as it was, someone had a grand vision. If I look at your parks, 200 years ago someone set aside property (and despite) huge pressure to develop that, had a vision to say ‘no, this will create real value to people’.
“And you have one of the most spectacular waterfronts in the world.”
Mr Murphy told his audience the ability to harness the energy of people in pursuit of a better city, to build a vibrant place where people want to live, work and play, could only be built on leadership and a shared vision for that future.
It was leadership from both elected civic representatives and corporate leaders along with recognising the need for and finding ways to rise above personal gain in pursuit of community benefit, he said.
Mr Murphy said his Pittsburgh experiences had led to tangible lessons for transforming cities into world-class places in six key areas including leadership, strategy, institutional capacity, finance infrastructure, education and design excellence.
And while it may be an Australian catchcry, Mr Murphy ended his lecture by telling his audience, “good enough is not good enough!”
Meanwhile, the Warren Centre’s Urban Reform Project, which was the basis for Mr Murphy’s lecture, is at www.thewarrencentre.org.au/urbanreform/