During his tenure as mayor from 1994 to 2006, Murphy encouraged public-private partnerships to transform blighted industrial land into residential and retail spaces, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described in a 2013 profile story. Both as a state legislator for 14 years then as mayor for three consecutive terms, Murphy helped clean up the rivers, then helped create 25 miles of riverfront trails. One of his successes was Nine Mile Run, a one-time slag heap that became the residential community Summerset at Frick Park.
Murphy’s other remarkable achievements included construction of PNC Park, Heinz Field and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. His administration’s work on the North Side and Strip District, in particular, incorporated tax increment financing and other innovative ideas.
Murphy has been a senior fellow with the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C., since 2006.