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The anatomy of the street (Thomas Sharp Lecture)

Michael Hebbert, Professor of Town Planning, University College London, and Editor of Planning Perspectives

Date/Time: 3rd March 2016

Seventy years from the publication of Thomas Sharp's classic Anatomy of a Village, Michael Hebbert considers the importance attached by Sharp to the shaping of street-space through built form, whether in rural or urban settings.

The lecture applies an anatomical approach to the street canyon, showing how its component elements of facade, frontage, pavement, furniture, lighting, planting, carriageway and microclimate have fared in intervening decades. It is a narrative of gloom lightened by hints of revival - as Sharp put it, in poetic mode, "such / Wealth as sometimes a lone prospector found / When after barren years he came on golden ground."


Speaker biography

Michael Hebbert is Professor of Town Planning in the Bartlett at UCL, and Emeritus Professor of the University of Manchester.

Beginning at Merton College as an Oxford historian, he pursued his doctorate under (Sir) Peter Hall in Geography at the University of Reading and developed wide-ranging interests in the history of city planning. Among other topics, his writings have explored:

  • the planning histories of London and Manchester
  • regionalism and regional planning
  • evolving theories of urban landscape and highway design
  • railway stations in cities
  • the application of scientific climatology to urban design

He has taught at Oxford Brookes and the London School of Economics as well as the University of Manchester. He has been active in community initiatives and building trusts in London and Manchester and chaired the design review panel for the London Crossrail project.

In 2002-10 he edited the Elsevier journal Progress in Planning and now edits Planning Perspectives, the leading international forum for scholarship in the history of town planning.