Sir Peter Hall writes new book on what’s wrong with urban planning in Britain today

Internationally renowned academic Sir Peter Hall has just published a new book, Good Cities, Better Lives with Routledge/Taylor & Francis, looking at the urban planning challenges faced in Britain and other countries, and how lessons from the European experience can help to put it right.

Fifty years ago this summer, in 1963, Hall became so incensed by the way London was being planned that he wrote a book about it. That book, London 2000, made a stir and half a century and fifty books later, he’s returned to the battle at age 81 with Good Cities, Better Lives: How Europe Discovered the Lost Art of Urbanism. It promises to have the same impact.

Hall, still active as Professor of Planning and Regeneration at UCL, thinks that back in the 1960s and 1970s British planners started to do some things right, but, since then, he feels Britain has steadily slipped back. Its European neighbours – Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, France – have overtaken the UK in the art of planning and building good cities.

Over the last five years, as President of the Town and Country Planning Association, Hall has been leading study tours to these places to find out how they do it and Good Cities, Better Lives is the result. Following an analysis of Britain’s current failings, he takes readers on a Grand Tour from Malmö to Montpellier and from Stockholm to Strasbourg, distilling their lessons. And in a final chapter, he produces a blueprint for a revival of Britain’s lost art of city building.

Good Cities, Better Lives will be required reading for policy-makers, planners, academics, and for anyone who cares about places and place-making, both in Britain and around the world.

To coincide with the publication of Good Cities, Better Lives, Routledge is also publishing The Planning Imagination: Peter Hall and the Study of Urban and Regional Planning, a Festschrift produced by Hall’s colleagues and friends to commemorate his lifetime achievements. Mark Tewdwr-Jones, Nicholas Phelps, and Robert Freestone have brought together in five themes a series of critical reflections on Hall’s vast and diverse contributions over the past half-century, covering the history of cities and planning; London; spatial planning; connectivity and mobility; and urban globalization.

Finally, in the sixth and final part of The Planning Imagination, the editors have asked Sir Peter Hall to reflect on his own career and the sources of his imagination. Combined with the editors’ coverage, this new book reflects Hall’s own evolution as well as that of his planning ideas.

For additional information about these books, visit or contact Chris Hardin, Senior Marketing Manager.