In 2021 AECOM launched Sustainable Legacies, our environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, a response to the acceleration of imbalances that we have seen in recent years. A key part of the solution to these global challenges is Social Infrastructure: sustainable, equitable, people-centric solutions that focus on the environment. Click here to learn more.
Bill Hanway is AECOMs Global Social Infrastructure lead. In his 25+ years at AECOM, Bill has brought transformative urban regeneration projects to life, often through the lens of major sports events. Highlights include the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Rio de Janerio Olympics and Paralympic Games, as well as advising the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on the Tokyo 2020 Games. He currently leads the team for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games Plan.
How can Social Infrastructure help reduce disparity between communities?
An excellent example is the Golden One Center in Sacramento, California. The downtown core of Sacramento was really struggling, lacking a sense of community and economic opportunities for people. Creating this important piece of social infrastructure here brought citizens back downtown, and we’ve seen total regeneration around the Center that has helped reduce the disparity between this community and the rest of Sacramento.
It’s one thing to deliver a major sports project like the Golden One Center, but I like to think we have the scale, innovation, skills and values that have made it so much more. Solutions for broader regeneration and social value can be developed right from the concept stage, whether we’re looking at a single project or a wider regeneration strategy.
Has creating long-term value for communities become a priority when developing infrastructure?
There is certainly an increasing awareness of the long-term value that can be created by engaging with local stakeholders and the wider community for everyone involved in developing infrastructure. It’s not good enough to develop an isolated plan or avoid the direct needs and challenges of local communities. I believe that’s going to be a driving force when it comes to creating social equity moving forward. You’re no longer just doing a project, but also looking at the context in which you’re building to leave a sustainable legacy for generations to come.
Tell us about a project that has been a personal career highlight and how it impacted the community. My personal highlight is the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We worked on this project for 10 years, from its origins, to the games, through to the legacy delivery. When we started, the area surrounding Stratford in London was an industrial wasteland with no public open space. To witness the transformation over time, attend the opening ceremonies, and experience people enjoying the new amenities was incredible. Later, I got to watch my own children move to the East End to enjoy the success of that labor. It’s truly rewarding to see that momentum carried through to the community that continues to thrive there.
About the authors
With thanks to AECOM Editors for allowing us to share and celebrate the articles & blogs from various leaders and employees