AECOM’s Brilliant Cities


“AECOM is the world’s premier infrastructure firm, partnering with clients to solve the world’s most complex challenges and build legacies for generations to come.” (website)


“Cities have never been more important, nor the competition among them more intense. The cities that are positioned to excel are pursuing visionary, integrated strategies to tap hidden value, attract people and investment, and overcome financial and operational challenges.”


Brilliant cities are globally renowned for being prosperous and highly liveable.

They allow residents to live close to where they work, and enjoy housing security and easy access to services, amenities and open space.

Crucially, infrastructure, services and technology are deeply integrated with people’s lives.

Digital applications and the sharing economy operate around the clock, giving residents seamless on-demand access to transport and other services at any hour of the day.

These technological innovations connect communities; they also enable remote work and sharing of ideas. In addition, a greater mix of housing types provides residents

with more diverse, equitable and, in turn, liveable environments.

Achieving this vision (in Sydney) will take more than just spending money. Governance, planning and procurement settings are crucial.

All three tiers of government, as well as other stakeholders, must also collaborate to identify goals and prioritise funding, and they must be held accountable for delivering these commitments.



This is a very clever piece of Thought Leadership.

AECOM build infrastructure. To create demand and ultimately pitch their expertise, they have the created their own opportunity and conversation about what is needed: Brilliant Cities.

That’s a simple and power two-word phrase. ‘Cities’ is the context and ‘brilliant’ is their unique descriptor or niche term.

Together they ask the questions:

  • What is a brilliant city?
  • Is my city brilliant?
  • What would we need to do to make it brilliant?

Historically, this type of discussion document was created by government entities. Instead, I believe this document is inspired and created by AECOM. That’s being a leader in your market.

Even better, they have created a context that can applied to different situations – in this case to different cities.

Separately I have posted Brilliant City Sydney Manifesto. I suggest you download the pdf – it’s a beautifully designed document that outlines the principles they are pursuing and how they would go about this. From the three tiers of government (Local, State and Federal) that could enact the plan, AECOM has highlighted the goals and some broad projects that could be implemented to achieve these goals.

This sets up a three-tier Thought Leadership approach:

  1. Define a unique context eg Brilliant Cities
  2. Write the rules for success – what critieria do you need to achieve to become a Brilliant City
  3. Applications of your rules – in this case, Sydney


Brilliant City Sydney Manifesto

Vancouver – Greenest City in the World 2020

Trevor Boddy – Hybrid City

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