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Friday 15 July 2005


Professor Sir Peter Hall

Public Orator, Professor Peter Taylor presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Friday 15 July 2005 at 3.00pm

Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Lord Lieutenant, Honorary Graduands, Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, and Graduands, Peter Hall’s wonderful career has been at the inter-face between geography and planning, with a specific focus on cities, expressing both a love of their vitality and a fascination for how they work. Understanding cities and promoting the ‘good city’ stand at the core of Peter Hall’s achievements, both academic and practical.

In 1968, at the age of 36, Peter Hall was appointed Professor of Geography and Head of Department at Reading University, with the appointment committee not fully realising that they were getting two for the price of one. 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 prestigious Chair of Planning at The Bartlett, University College, London, where he remains today. Through all this period, he carried out a phenomenal number of advisory roles on committees and commissions in policy circles in the UK, notable for the Departments of Environment and Transport, latterly the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and in the EU, nicely coming full-circle this year by his becoming chair of “ReBlackpool,” the urban regeneration company for the city where he was brought up.

However, above all, we are honouring Peter Hall for the quality of his published works and the influence they have had on his chosen fields of study. From over 50 books, I have chosen to focus on three, in part because they have been very important for me in my research, but primarily because they epitomise the path-breaking nature of Peter Hall’s work and their record for research agenda-setting.

  • The World Cities was published in 1966 simultaneously in 6 languages, a Chinese edition came out in 1982, a year before the English third edition. This was a truly portentous volume: it is only since the mid-1980s that world cities have became a major school of urban research and we still aspire to understand world cities in the comprehensive manner that Peter Hall bequeathed to us 4 decades ago.

  • Cities for Tomorrow came out in 1988, with the third edition appearing in 2002. This is the outstanding critical history of city planning across the world.

  • Cities in Civilization appeared in 2002 as a magnificent celebration of the vibrancy of cities through the ages. It is a book for the ages; a magnus opus of nearly 1200 pages exhibiting Peter Hall’s sophisticated and scholarly knowledge of cities at its very best.

Therefore, Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you, and to the whole university, Professor Sir Peter Hall for the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa.”


Loughborough University - Degree Speeches 2005, July 2005
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