PRIX VAUTRIN LUD 2001

Sir Peter Geoffrey Hall

Peter Hall is Professor of Planning at the Bartlett Scool of Architecture and Planning, University College London. He has also taught and held administrative positions at the London School of Economics, the University of Reading (1968-88) and the University of California at Berkeley (1980-92). Peter Hall received his Master’s and Ph.D degrees from the University of Cambridge in the UK.


Two main considerations were at the base of the nomination of Peter Hall as laureate for the Prix in 2001. First is his very extensive and influential contribution to the knowledge of how metropolitan regions develop and how urban planning can respond to the problems which arise from the changes that occur in the structure of urban areas as geographical and social systems. He is arguably the most authoritative writer on urban development and planning in the world today, and has been in that position for decades. Peter Hall has written more than 30 books and a large number of academic articles on this theme. But his contribution must not be measured solely in terms of numbers of publications, but mainly in terms of the quality of his work. One of his first books The World Cities (1966, 1977, 1983) written at the relatively young age of 34, had an impact on the field of urban studies across the world. It was translated into French, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish, and was on the reading lists of students of urban systems for a very long time. This shows that already some 35 years ago the impact of Peter Hall on the study of metropolitan regions and urban planning went far beyond the United Kingdom. This is an important consideration for the Jury to select the laureate of the Prix Vautrin Lud. More recent books that have been widely acclaimed are Technopoles of the World (1994, with M.Castells), Cities in Civilization (1998) and Urban Future 21 (2000, with U.Pfeiffer). Peter Hall has also supervised the work of graduate students from across the world and has thereby helped to create a high standard in the study of urban systems internationally. For his academic work he received honorary doctorates from nine universities.


A second major consideration for the Jury to give the Prix Vautrin Lud is the contribution of the laureate to the application of geographical knowledge to general concerns that arise about the development of our societies of today. Peter Hall has written a large number of influential articles in weekly and monthly magazines for a wider audience, and has played and plays an important role in the public and political world. In the United Kingdom he was advisor to the Continental Railway Company on the high-speed rail link from London to the Channel Tunnel and member of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Urban Task Force, to mention just two examples of his memebership of many British official committees. But his contribution to the practise of urban planning and policy went far beyond the borders of the United Kingdom. He also has been advisor to the Government of South Australia for the Strategic Review for Metropolitan Adelaide, Chairman of the Research Comittee on the Urban Underclass of the Social Science Research Council in the United States, and convenor of the World Commission on 21th Century Urbanization (Urban 21) in Berlin in the year 2000. Again, just to give a few examples of his involvement with the larger issues that have evolved around present day processes of urbanization.


With his extensive and original contributions to the knowledge of urban development and planning Peter Hall holds a prominent place among the scholars in the science of geography who have received the Prix Vautrin Lud to date.

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