Dr Tim Williams heads up Grimshaw’s Cities Initiative which forms part of the Cities and Social Impact Group. This is a new initiative which differentiates Grimshaw. It informs our understanding as to the key urban issues and trends evident in the wake of the pandemic of maximum relevance to those working in the built environment and real estate. It helps us understand the places – their strategic objectives and needs – in which we build so as to maximise our social impact and benefits for both client and community.
Tim has an international ‘city-shaping’ reputation in urban strategies, land use and transport planning, smart cities strategies, city-benchmarking and area transformation and regeneration. He also has a big track record in getting
top-level buy-in by key decision-maker and by communities to challenging urban transformation and infrastructure projects.
Newly appointed by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure to advise her Department, Tim is now a member of the new Australia Urban Policy Network. He has advised governments and companies at the highest levels in the UK, US, and Australia at the highest levels on urban strategies and indeed housing. He was lead advisor to the CEO of international developer Lendlease when they designed and built the Olympic Village – now the Queen Elizabeth Park - in Stratford. Tim was CEO of Thames Gateway London Partnership, the organisation representing 12 local governments in East London when they were instrumental in securing the Channel Tunnel Rail Link on its Stratford
alignment, in ensuring then that Stratford secured the Olympics and then in getting the Cross Rail (now Elizabeth Line) line to go through East London on both sides of the Thames. Because of this work, Tim became, from 2005 to 2010, the top ministerial advisor on cities , planning and housing in the Blair/Brown Governments where he led on what became the City Region program, redesigned developer contributions as part of a wider reform of the planning
system, helped redesign London governance, and initiated the creation of a new housing and urban regeneration agency known initially as the Homes and Communities Agency(then Homes England). In this process, Tim became an expert in designing governance arrangements for effective urban transformation projects with his ideas shaping the Thames Gateway Development Corporation and indeed the Olympic Delivery Authority in London. He also led the consultancy team which designed an effective legacy strategy for the communities of East London to leverage benefits from the Olympics which influenced the then London Mayor, Boris Johnson, to embark on a national version of our strategy, the ‘levelling-up’ agenda. Tim then worked for Boris on his London Residential Design Guide, advising also on affordable housing policy.
On relocating to Sydney in late 2010 Tim wrote influential reports on smart cities (for Huawei) and housing strategies which led to him being jointly appointed as a part time (20%) Principal in planning for global advisory firm Arup and 80% as CEO of a then struggling and now highly successful think tank called The Committee for Sydney, a business-led strategy group for the city. Tim turned that into a must-join/go-to organisation for business and government, and because of that, Tim has had an impact on Greater Sydney. He is recognised as having made a formative role in re-shaping Sydney governance in his work advising on the design of the Greater Sydney Commission, Australia’s first metro-scale land use and transport planning body. He was also then made an advisor to the Federal Australian Government on cities, advising on importing UK-style City Deals to Australia, one of which became the multi-billion dollar Western Sydney City Deal. As an early contributor to smart cities, tech initiatives and innovation precincts in Australia Tim helped create the nation’s first Fin Tech accelerator in Stone and Chalk in Sydney and has been heavily involved in the emergence of Tech Central Innovation Precinct in and around Central Station Sydney. Most recently
he has helped catalyse big new infrastructure projects such as the Sydney and Parramatta Light Rail schemes, a new global airport for Western Sydney and new heavy rail capacity connecting central with Western Sydney. Because of this impact and experience Tim was invited on to the International Advisory Panel for the 4th Strategic Plan of the influential Regional Plan Association of New York. Also, in the last year, Tim has researched and written formative post-Covid recovery strategies for the Australian capital city Canberra, the capital of Wales, Cardiff and the capital of New South Wales, Sydney.