Peter Newman (environmental scientist)
Peter William Geoffrey Newman (born 1945) is an environmental scientist, author and educator based in Perth, Western Australia. He is currently Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University and since 2008 member of Infrastructure Australia.
Peter Newman is known for popularizing the term ‘automobile dependence’ in the second half of the 1980s. He was closely associated with the redevelopment of Perth's rail system from 1979 to the present, which is now seen as a model for how car dependent cities can change towards more sustainable transport. He is author of numerous publications on sustainable cities and a Lead Author for Transport on the IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Career and influence
Peter Newman is best known internationally for popularizing the term ‘automobile dependence’ in the second half of the 1980s to explain how the cities of the time based on sprawling suburbs were inevitably leading to the growth in automobile use. (The term had actually existed since 1911.) He led an international research with colleague Jeff Kenworthy of transport practices and structures (original data collected on 33 global cities). The results were published in Cities and Automobile Dependence: An International Sourcebook, which introduced the concept of car dependence - now a feature of planning literature and policy. The two researchers later collaborated on the book Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence which was launched in the White House in 1999, as the President’s Council on Sustainable Development was moving toward a more urban focus.
In Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems: Principles and Practices written with Isabella Jennings, Newman shows how city residents can begin to reintegrate into their bioregional environment, and how cities themselves can be planned with ecological sustainability in mind. Drawing on examples from many parts of the world, the authors show how urban redevelopment in some cities has involved harvesting rainwater, greening roofs, and producing renewable energy. Other cities have biodiversity parks for endangered species, community gardens that support a connection to their foodshed, and pedestrian-friendly spaces that encourage walking and cycling.
Local, State and Federal Government
Between 1976-80 Newman has served as a local government councillor in the City of Fremantle. Newman has been a government advisor through three secondments to the Western Australian State Government. In the last secondment (2001–03), he was the Director of Sustainability Policy in the Department of Premier and Cabinet where he managed and wrote the State Sustainability Strategy: the first in the world at the state/province level. In 2004-2005 he was the New South Wales Sustainability Commissioner.
From 1989 to 2007 Newman was Director of the Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy, Murdoch University in Murdoch, Western Australia. In 2007, Newman left Murdoch University to join Curtin University. In 2006-07 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Peter Newman is member of the Global Research Network on Human Settlements Advisory Board and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the UNESCO SCOPE Ecopolis Project. He is Senior Consultant at Gehl Architects, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Honors and recognition
- Murdoch University 25th Anniversary Special Service Medallion. (2000)
- Centenary Medal by the Australian Government in 2001 for Planning and Sustainability
- 1989 Cities and Automobile Dependence: An International Sourcebook, Newman P and Kenworthy J, Gower, Aldershot.
- 1992 Winning Back the Cities, Pluto Press, Sydney, 1992, Newman P and Kenworthy J.
- 1999 Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence, Island Press, Washington DC. Newman P and Kenworthy J, ISBN 1-55963-660-2.
- 1999 An International Sourcebook of Automobile Dependence in Cities, 1960-1990, Kenworthy J, Laube F and Newman P, University of Colorado Press, Boulder, 1999.
- 2001 Back on Track: Rethinking Australia and New Zealand Transport Policy, Laird P, Newman P, Kenworthy J and Bachels M, UNSW Press, Sydney, 2001.
- 2003 Hope for the Future: The Western Australian State Sustainability Strategy, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, WA Government, Perth, 2003.
- 2008 Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems: Principles and Practices with Isabella Jennings, Washington, DC: Island Press, ISBN 978-1-59726-187-6.
- 2009 Resilient Cities with Timothy Beatley and Heather Boyer, Island Press, ISBN 978-1-59726-499-0
- 2013 Green Urbanism in Asia with Anne Matan, World Scientific Publishing.
- Curtin University: Staff Profiles, retrieved 19 August 2010
- Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems: Principles and Practices
- Curtin University: Staff Profiles, retrieved 6 February 2011
- The Hon Anthony Albanese MP: Media Release 19 May 2008, retrieved 19 August 2010
- Sustainability experts join Curtin
- Gehl Architects: Team Members, retrieved 6 February 2011