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Peter Hall
Peter Hall delivering address at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Born 03 (1932) (age 82)
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.


Early years[edit]

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 area.


In 1968, Hall was appointed Professor of Geography and Head of Department at the University of Reading. He remained Geography Head of Department until 1980 but in the meantime became Chairman 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. 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 to 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 6 languages in 1966. A Chinese edition came out in 1982, a year before the English third edition. The research encompassed was ahead of its time; it is only since the mid-1980s that world cities became a major school of urban research.

Of his writings devoted to contemporary problems of urban planning in Britain, Europe and the USA, one of the best known 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. 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 received in 2001 the Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize and later in 2003 won the Royal Town Planning Institute Gold Medal along with the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for distinction in research. In 2005, he won the Balzan Prize for the Social and Cultural History of Cities since the Beginning of the 16th Century. He won the 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] In 2008 Hall was awarded the Regional Studies Prize for Overall Contribution to the Field of Regional Studies.

Hall is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Academia Europaea as well as the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He holds fourteen honorary doctorates from universities in the UK, Sweden and Canada. Hall was knighted in 1998 for services to the Town and Country Planning Association. He has been on the Board of Trustees of The Architecture Foundation.


  • Peter Hall. 1963. London 2000, London, Faber & Faber, 1963, 1969
  • Peter Hall. 1966. The World Cities, London, World University Library, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1966,1977,1983 (French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish translations published simultaneously)
  • Peter Hall. 1973. The Containment of Urban England (with H. Gracey, R. Drewett and R. Thomas), London, George Allen & Unwin Ltd.; Beverly Hills, Sage Publications Inc., 1973. Two volumes: volume one Urban and Metropolitan Growth Processes or Megalopolis Denied; volume two The Planning System: Objectives, Operations, Impacts
  • Peter Hall and M. Clawson. 1973. Planning and Urban Growth: An Anglo-American Comparison. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins.
  • Peter Hall. 1975. Urban and Regional Planning. Hardmondsworth/London, Penguin, 1975, 1982; Newton Abbott, David and Charles, 1975; London, Routledge, 1992, 2002
  • Peter Hall (ed.). 1977. Europe 2000. London, Duckworth
  • Peter Hall. 1980. Great Planning Disasters. London, Weidenfeld.
  • Peter Hall and D. Hay. 1980. Growth Centres in the European Urban System. London, Heinemann.
  • Peter Hall (ed.). 1981. The Inner City in Context. London, Heinemann.
  • Peter Hall and Ann Markusen (eds.) 1985. Silicon Landscapes. Boston, Allen & Unwin.
  • Peter Hall and C. Hass-Klau. 1985. Can Rail save the City? The Impact of Rail Rapid Transit and Pedestrianisation on British and German Cities . Aldershot, Gower Publishing.
  • Michael J. Breheny, Douglas A. Hart, 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, A. Markusen and A. Glasmeier. 1986. High-Tech America: The What, How, Where and Why of the Sunrise Industries. Boston, Allen & Unwin.
  • Peter Hall, Michael J. Breheny, Ronald McQuaid, Douglas Hart. 1987. Western Sunrise: The Genesis and Growth of Britain's Major High Tech Corridor. Unwin Hyman.
  • Peter Hall and P. Preston. 1988. The Carrier Wave: New Information Technology and the Geography of Innovation 1846-2003 . London, Unwin Hyman.
  • Peter Hall. 1988. Cities of Tomorrow: An Intellectual History of Urban Planning and Design in the Twentieth Century. Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 1988, 1996, 2002
  • Peter Hall. 1989. London 2001. London, Unwin Hyman.
  • Peter Hall,A. Markusen, S.Campbell and S. Deitrick. 1991. The Rise of the Gunbelt: The Military Remapping of Industrial America. New York, OUP.
  • Peter Hall and M Castells. 1994. Technopoles of the World: The Making of 21st-Century Industrial Complexes. London, Routledge.
  • 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 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, 1998; New York, Pantheon Books, 1998
  • 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.
  • Peter Hall and Ulrich Pfeiffer. 2000. Urban Future 21:A Global Agenda for Twenty-First Century Cities.. Routledge.
  • Nick Buck, Ian Gordon, Peter Hall, Michael Harloe, Mark Kleinman. 2002. Working Capital: Life and Labour in Contemporary London. Routledge.
  • Peter Hall and K. Pain. (eds.) 2006. Polycentric Metropolis: Learning from Mega-city Regions in Europe. Earthscan.
  • Peter Hall. 2007. London Voices, London Lives. Policy Press.


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

External links[edit]

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