Gordon Stephenson

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Gordon Stephenson
Born 1908
Died 1997
Nationality British
Occupation Town planner

Gordon Stephenson (1908–1997) was a British-born town planner and architect. He is best known for his role in shaping the modern growth and development of Perth, Western Australia.


Early life[edit]

Gordon Stephenson was born in 1908. He studied architecture at the University of Liverpool, graduating in 1930.


Early career[edit]

His early career included working with Patrick Abercrombie on the Greater London Plan.[1] Along with Peter Shepheard, he created an influential[2] design for Stevenage, the first post-war British new town, which incorporated a pedestrianised town centre.

Perth, Western Australia[edit]

In 1953, he was commissioned by the state government of Western Australia to produce a plan for the metropolitan area of Perth and Fremantle.[1] The resulting 1955 Plan for the Metropolitan Region was co-authored with Alistair Hepburn and is commonly known as the 'Stephenson-Hepburn Report'. It included an atlas of maps which laid down a broad pattern of future land uses including highways and open space, and catered for significant additional population growth.[3]

The report formed the basis for the 1963 Metropolitan Region Scheme for Perth and Fremantle, a legal instrument for regulating land-use and development in the urban area[4] It remained the overarching strategic plan for the development of Perth until it was succeeded by the Corridor Plan for Perth in 1970.[3]

Later career[edit]

Following his work in Perth, he was employed variously as a consultant planner and academic in New Zealand, Canada, and America. In Halifax, Canada, he is known for his 1957 plan to redevelop the entire downtown core as well as the forceful eviction of Africville, a historically black neighborhood. He subsequently returned to Perth and continued to play an important role in its development, amongst other things crafting plans for Joondalup and Midland regional centres, and for the campus of Murdoch University.[5]

In later life, he authored several books.


He died in 1997, possibly of a stroke.


On August 28, 2011, the WA State Government announced that the recently completed building, informally known as one40william would be renamed Gordon Stephenson House.[6]

The Planning Department at the University of Liverpool is located in the Gordon Stephenson Building, named in his honour.



  • On a Human Scale - A Life in City Design. Fremantle Arts centre Press. 1992. 
  • Stephenson, Gordon (1975). The Design of central Perth: Some Problems and Possible Solutions. A Study made for the Perth Central Area Design Co-ordinating Committee. UWA. pp. 88 pp. ISBN 0-85564-107-X. 


  1. ^ a b Murdoch University: Honorary Degree Citation, Emeritus Professor Gordon Stephenson, CBE
  2. ^ Ford, B: "The Cambridge cultural history of Britain", page 153. Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  3. ^ a b http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/pubs/bpj/pdf/8_BPJ_v18_2005_Hill_p119-149.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.wapc.wa.gov.au/Coast/Perth+coastal+planning+strategy/BP4%20Urban%20Development.pdf?id=1109.
  5. ^ Gordon Stephenson
  6. ^ http://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/Default.aspx?ItemId=143738

Further reading[edit]