Peter Hall (urbanist)

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Peter Hall
Peter Hall delivering address at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Born Peter Geoffrey Hall
(1932-03-19) March 19, 1932 (age 82)
Hampstead, London, England
Nationality British
Alma mater St Catharine's College, Cambridge
Occupation Town Planner
Known for World Cities ranking, urban planning history, city regions

Sir Peter Geoffrey Hall, FBA (born 19 March 1932) is an English town planner, urbanist and geographer. He is the Bartlett Professor of Planning and Regeneration at The Bartlett, University College London[1] and President of both the Town and Country Planning Association and the Regional Studies Association.[2]

He is internationally renowned for his studies and writings on the economic, demographic, cultural and management issues that face cities around the globe. Hall has been for many years a planning and regeneration adviser to successive UK governments. He was Special Adviser on Strategic Planning to the British government (1991–94) and a member of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Urban Task Force (1998–1999).[1] Hall is considered by many to be the father of the industrial enterprise zone concept, adopted by countries worldwide to develop industry in disadvantaged areas.


Hall was born in Hampstead, north London, England. In 1940 his family moved to Blackpool, when his father, a clerical officer in the pensions service, was relocated. Hall attended Blackpool Grammar School and then went on to graduate from St Catharine's, Cambridge with a Master’s degree and Doctorate in Geography before starting his academic career in 1957 as lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London.[3] He later became a reader in geography at the London School of Economics. Hall was a founding editor of the academic journal Regional Studies which has become a leading international journal in its field.

In 1968, Hall was appointed Professor of Geography and Head of Department at the University of Reading. He remained Head of Department until 1980, but in the meantime served as Chair of the Planning School from 1971 (for a total of 9 years until 1986) as well as Dean of Urban and Regional Planning for 3 years. Running parallel through the 1980s, he was also Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, moving often between the two posts. He left Reading in 1989 and Berkeley in 1992 to take up the Chair of Planning at The Bartlett, University College, London, where he remains today.


Hall has studied the world’s cities from multiple angles – economic, demographic, cultural and managerial. He has written and edited nearly 40 books, some of them translated into several other languages. His first prominent book was The World Cities published simultaneously in six languages in 1966. A Chinese edition came out in 1982, a year before the English third edition.

One of the best known of his writings devoted to contemporary problems of urban planning in Britain, Europe and the USA, is The Containment of Urban England (1973), an analysis of the British town and country planning system, based on a formidable amount of statistical research. It focuses on the processes of urban growth in England and Wales since World War II and describes how the planning movement tried to contain and guide it.

Hall charted the history of modern attempts to shape and control the development of the city, including efforts to plan London's growth. He co-wrote Sociable Cities (1998), an analysis of the legacy of Ebenezer Howard, whose Garden Cities of To-Morrow (1902), became the most influential and important book in the history of 20th-century city planning. That same year, Professor Hall published his wide-ranging Cities in Civilization: Culture, Technology and Urban Order, an 1169-page venture into the comparative cultural history of cities, which investigates the exceptional cultural creativity which distinguished the world’s great cities in their golden ages, from ancient Athens to late 20th-century London. In 2006, he completed direction of a two-year, seven-country study of Polycentric Mega-City-Regions in Europe, financed by a €2.4 million grant from the European Union.

Honours and awards[edit]

Hall was knighted in 1998 for services to the Town and Country Planning Association. He was awarded the Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize in 2001; the Royal Town Planning Institute Gold Medal and the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for distinction in research in 2003; and the Balzan Prize for the Social and Cultural History of Cities since the Beginning of the 16th Century in 2005. He won the last award "for his unique contribution to the history of ideas about urban planning, his acute analysis of the physical, social and economic problems of modern cities and his powerful historical investigations into the cultural creativity of city life."[4] He also won the Regional Studies Prize for Overall Contribution to the Field of Regional Studies in 2008.

Hall holds fourteen honorary doctorates from universities in the UK, Sweden and Canada. He is a Fellow of the British Academy; and a Member of the Academia Europaea and the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He has been on the Board of Trustees of The Architecture Foundation.



  • Peter Hall (2013) Good Cities, Better Lives: How Europe Discovered the Lost Art of Urbanism. London: Routledge.
  • Peter Hall (2007) London Voices, London Lives: Tales from a Working Capital. Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Nick Buck, Ian Gordon, Peter Hall, Michael Harloe, and Mark Kleinman (2002) Working Capital: Life and Labour in Contemporary London. London: Routledge.
  • Peter Hall, Ulrich Pfeiffer (2000) Urban Future 21: a Global Agenda for Twenty-First Century Cities. London: Routledge. (updated 2013)
  • Peter Hall, Colin Ward (1998) Sociable Cities: Legacy of Ebenezer Howard. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Peter Hall (1998) Cities in Civilization: Culture, Technology, and Urban Order. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; New York: Pantheon Books.
  • Peter Hall, Manuel Castells (1994) Technopoles of the World: The Making of 21st-Century Industrial Complexes. . London: Routledge.
  • Ann Markusen, Peter Hall, Scott Campbell, and Sabina Deitrick (1991) The Rise of the Gunbelt: The Military Remapping of Industrial America. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Peter Hall (1989) London 2001 London: Unwin Hyman.
  • Peter Hall (1988) Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Reprinted 1988. Updated 1996, 2002.
  • Peter Hall and Paschal Preston (1988) The Carrier Wave: New Information Technology and the Geography of Innovation 1846-2003. London: Unwin Hyman.
  • Peter Hall, Michael J. Breheny, Ronald McQuaid, and Douglas Hart (1987) Western Sunrise: The Genesis and Growth of Britain's Major High Tech Corridor. London: Unwin Hyman.
  • Peter Hall, Ann Markusen and Amy K. Glasmeier (1986) High-Tech America: The What, How, Where and Why of the Sunrise Industries. Boston: Allen & Unwin.
  • Michael J. Breheny, Douglas A. Hart, and Peter Hall (1986) Eastern Promise? Development Prospects for the M11 Corridor. Spatial and Economic Associates, Faculty of Urban and Regional Studies, University of Reading.
  • Peter Hall and Carmen Hass-Klau (1985) Can Rail save the City? The Impact of Rail Rapid Transit and Pedestrianisation on British and German Cities. Aldershot: Gower Publishing.
  • Peter Hall and Dennis Hay (1980) Growth Centres in the European Urban System. London: Heinemann.
  • Peter Hall (1980) Great Planning Disasters. London: Weidenfeld.
  • Peter Hall (1975) Urban and Regional Planning. Harmondsworth/London: Penguin. Reprinted 1982; Newton Abbott, David and Charles, 1975; London: Routledge, 1992, 2002, fifth edition 2010 with Mark Tewdwr-Jones.
  • Marion Clawson and Peter Hall (1973) Planning and Urban Growth: An Anglo-American Comparison. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.
  • Peter Hall, with Ray Thomas, Harry Gracey, and Roy Drewett (1973) The Containment of Urban England. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd.; Beverley Hills: Sage Publications Inc. (Two volumes. Vol. 1: "Urban and Metropolitan Growth Processes or Megalopolis Denied"; Vol. 2: "The Planning System: Objectives, Operations, Impacts")
  • Peter Hall (1966) The World Cities. London: World University Library, Weidenfeld & Nicolson. (French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish translations published simultaneously) Reprinted 1977, 1983.
  • Peter Hall (1963) London 2000. London, Faber & Faber. Reprinted 1969, 1971.

Edited volumes[edit]

  • Peter Hall and Kathy Pain (eds.) (2006) Polycentric Metropolis: Learning from Mega-city Regions in Europe. London, Sterling, VA: Earthscan.
  • Michael J. Breheny and Peter Hall (eds.) 1999. The people: where will they work? National report of the TCPA Regional Inquiry into Housing Need and Provision in England. Town and Country Planning Association.
  • Michael J. Breheny and Peter Hall (eds.) (1996). The people: where will they go? National report of the TCPA Regional Inquiry into Housing Need and Provision in England. Town and Country Planning Association.
  • Peter Hall and Ann Markusen (eds.) (1985). Silicon Landscapes. Boston: Allen & Unwin.
  • Peter Hall (ed.) (1981) The Inner City in Context. London: Heinemann.
  • Peter Hall (ed.) (1977)Europe 2000. London: Duckworth.


  • Honorary Degree Orations, Loughborough University 2005
  • UCL News 2005,Thames Gateway Forum 2006 (Dr Jabed Rahman)

External links[edit]