Former Pittsburgh Mayor Talks 21st Century Cities

Tom Murphy expressed his admiration for One Spark


As a former mayor of Pittsburgh, Tom Murphy knows a lot about urban development and finding innovative solutions to complex problems.

During his time in office, Murphy took a deteriorating industrial city and transformed it into a technology hub. This, he said, was possible for any city – as long as the people who live there want it bad enough.

A senior resident fellow for Urban Development at the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Murphy specializes in public policy, retail/urban entertainment, transportation/infrastructure, housing, real estate, finance and environmental issues.

For his talk, “The Changing Rules of Community,” Murphy spoke about how the rules are changing and communities need to understand what will help them succeed in the 21st century.

“It’s a remarkable thing that you’re doing,” Murphy told the crowd in reference to One Spark. “You’re empowering yourselves. Wouldn’t you want to see this creativity, innovation and hustle and bustle every day?”

According to Murphy, there are five converging forces cities need to think about such as globalization, climate change, technology innovation, infrastructure needs and demographics. And, he said, it will be the millenials (ages 18 through 35) who will help change cities around America.

“This is a remarkable example of how you bring the forces together to create a 21st century city,” Murphy remarked of One Spark and Jacksonville. “Every city has a choice of what it wants to be. Don’t lose the spark.”

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