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Good cities, better lives (Thomas Sharp Lecture)

Sir Peter Hall, Bartlett Professor of Planning and Regeneration, University College London

Date/Time: 22nd May 2014

In this lecture Professor Hall presents the key arguments from his new book, which has one central theme: how, in the United Kingdom, can we create better cities and towns in which to live and work and play? What can we learn from other countries, especially our near neighbours in Europe? And, in turn, can we provide lessons for other countries facing similar dilemmas?

Urban Britain is not functioning as it should. Social inequalities and regional disparities show little sign of going away. Efforts to generate growth, and spread it to the poorer areas of cities, have failed dismally. Much new urban development and redevelopment is not up to standard. Yet there are cities in mainland Europe, which have set new standards of high-quality sustainable urban development. The lecture looks at these best-practice examples - in Germany, the Netherlands, France and Scandinavia - and suggest ways in which the UK and other countries could do the same.

Speaker biography

Sir Peter Hall is the Bartlett Professor of Planning and Regeneration at The Bartlett, University College London, and President of both the Town and Country Planning Association and the Regional Studies Association.

Internationally renowned for his work on the economic, demographic, cultural and management issues that face cities around the globe, Professor Hall introduced the concept of the industrial enterprise zone to the UK, and has been a planning and regeneration adviser to successive UK governments.

After receiving his Master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge, Professor Hall began his academic career at Birkbeck in 1957 as a lecturer in Geography. He taught at the London School of Economics before joining the University of Reading, where he became Dean of the Faculty of Urban and Regional Studies, latterly also becoming Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. He took up the Chair of Planning at The Bartlett in 1989, where he remains today.

Knighted in 1998 for services to the Town and Country Planning Association, Professor Hall received the Vautrin Lud International Geography Prize in 2001 and in 2003 was awarded the Royal Town Planning Institute Gold Medal along with the Founder’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for distinction in research. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a member of the Academia Europea, and holds honorary doctorates from universities in the UK, Sweden and Canada.

A founding editor of the international academic journal Regional Studies, Professor Hall has written extensively in his field; his first major book was The World Cities, published in six languages simultaneously in 1966. Other prominent publications include Cities in Civilization, a comparative cultural history of cities ranging from ancient Athens to late 20th century London. He has written a number of groundbreaking books on London.