Sir Peter Hall

About Sir Peter Hall (Edit profile)

Sir Peter Hall is Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, and Professor of Planning at University College London (p.hall@ucl.ac.uk).

Beyond the Automobile?

Sir Peter Hall

There is growing international consensus that the world needs a successor to the motor car. A deluge of commentary in recent times has alerted us all to the hazards of air pollution, traffic congestion, petroleum consumption, and now global warming. The automobile is said to be the cause of it all. Some argue that decentralization of cities and low suburban densities force people to use cars. Transportation and urban planners everywhere have been looking for remedies, preferably by finding an alternative to the car such as the bus or train.

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Melvin M. Webber: Maker and Breaker of Planning Paradigms

Sir Peter Hall

Melvin M. Webber died two days after Thanksgiving in the Berkeley home where he and his wife Carolyn had lived peaceably for nearly half a century; they would soon have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, but at the age of 86 his multiple myeloma cheated them of their festival. With him passed an era in the history of Berkeley’s Department of City and Regional Planning, where he had spent nearly all his long academic life and to whose international pre-eminence he had so profoundly contributed.

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High-Speed Rail Comes to London

Sir Peter Hall

Right now, monster traffic jams surround London’s St. Pancras station as they dig up the space in front of the great neo-Gothic Victorian pile to build an extension to the Underground station. As drivers sit motionless, they see mysterious red signs directing traffic to mysterious destinations: "CTRL WORKS TRAFFIC 1J," "CTRL WORKS TRAFFIC 2J-4J." The explanation can be found not far away, at the back of the station: behind security fences, Victorian coal gas tanks are being demolished or (because some are landmark structures) moved, while giant tunnel-boring machines are eating into the London clay. All this frenetic activity has one purpose: construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Stage Two—the UK’s new link to the continent of Europe, and one of the largest civil engineering projects since Victorian times—at last happening.

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Time Again for Rail?

Sir Peter Hall

This is the age of the train: certainly in Japan and in Europe; probably, soon, on the East Coast. The urgent question is whether California will catch the train, whether indeed it should catch the train, and if so how. Modern high speed train travel involves trains that achieve sustained high speed – a minimum of 125 mph, a maximum in revenue service so far of 187 mph – between cities that are typically between 100 and 500 miles apart. It all began exactly thirty years ago, when the Japanese opened their Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo and Osaka. It took nearly another two decades before France followed suit with its TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse) over the 270 miles between Paris and Lyon in 1981. But since then, high-speed trains have proliferated.

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