City building and rebuilding has challenged many great minds in the last century. Our cities are ageing and many of the industries supporting them are shrinking or moving offshore. Tom Murphy served three terms as the mayor of 'the steel city' Pittsburgh USA, from January 1994 through December 2005, tackling the problems of rebuilding a dying city that had lost its manufacturing and industrial base. He catalysed a series of initiatives which have made Pittsburgh one of the most vibrant and liveable cities in the USA, even in the current recession. He has lessons for Sydney from Pittsburgh and from his advisory services to other cities around the world, including London, Moscow and Los Angeles.

Tom Murphy’s presentation for Sydney Ideas focused on strategies that Sydney and other Australian cities can use to move from good to great. His presentation was followed by a panel discussion with local experts, and an opportunity to ask questions.

This was a Sydney Ideas event co-presented with the US Studies Centre and the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering.


  • Tom Murphy, senior resident fellow, Urban Land Institute, Washington and former mayor of Pittsburgh, USA
  • The Hon Patricia Forsythe, Executive Director, Sydney Business Chamber, former Member of the NSW Legislative Council and Honorary Associate of the Graduate School of Government at the University of Sydney
  • Edward Blakely, Honorary Professor of Urban Policy at the US Studies Centre, the University of Sydney
  • Julie Bindon, Urban Reform Project, The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering

Tom Murphy was a guest of the UPE 10 International Symposium Next City: Planning for a New Energy and Climate Future co-hosted by the US Studies Centre and the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney. The Symposium was supported by the NSW Government Department of Trade and Investment.