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Professor Sir Peter Hall

Urban planner.

Born: March 18, 1932; Died: July 390, 2014

Professor Sir Peter Hall, who has died aged 82, was a visionary geographer and urban planner. He pioneered the idea of enterprise zones to promote regeneration and development in cities such as Glasgow and Liverpool, he was at the forefront of the development of new towns such as Milton Keynes and he promoted the urban renewal which led to Canary Wharf in London.

He was also an influential teacher, thinker and writer whose most famous book London 2000, which was published in 1963, imagined a radically different and reshaped city made up of inter-connected new towns. The book was also notable for predicting the congestion charge.

He was born in Hampstead in north London but spent most of his childhood in Blackpool, where his father worked in the pensions service. After grammar school in the town, he studied geography at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, before working as an academic at Birkbeck College, London University and the London School of Economics.

He developed many of his ideas while professor of planning and regeneration at University College, London, where he was also a popular lecturer. He then moved to become professor of geography at Reading University from 1968 until 1989.

During the years of Margaret Thatcher's government, he was a key advisor and his big idea was enterprise zones where taxes could be kept low and planning regulation light to encourage development and regeneration.

The idea, he said, was to recreate the Hong Kong of the 1950s and 60s inside inner Liverpool or Glasgow. This led to the Urban Development Corporations which transformed Canary Wharf in the 1980s.

After working as a special advisor to Michael Heseltine while he was minister of environment under John Major, Sir Paul also advised Andrew Adonis, Labour's transport secretary, on his plans for Crossrail and HS2.

He was also a prolific writer. His most famous book remained London 2000, but he also wrote thousands of academic articles and around 50 books including Great Planning Disasters (1980), Cities in Civilisation in 1998 and London Voices, London Lives in 2007. His last book was Good Cities, Better Lives last year. One of the key ideas he kept returning to was the creation of garden cities and new towns such as Peterborough.

He was knighted in 1998 and received the Queen's Pioneer in the Life of the Nation award in 2003. He was married twice and is survived by his second wife Magdalena.

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