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Open Access Sir Peter Hall: A Humane, Urban Polymath

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This paper documents, through the eyes of one of his former students, how Sir Peter Hall built up an influential department of human geography at Reading University during the 1970s in less than ideal conditions. It then highlights some of his planning ideas along with a few of the author's more esoteric areas of enquiry that he always supported – computerized time trajectories, limitations to social science, personal rapid transit, plan prediction, face charts and Internet-based telepathy. It is argued that even if all of these ideas simply fade away, they will have still served their purpose because an ongoing genesis of diverse new insights is crucial for the continued dynamism and viability of the built environment professions. So, although Peter's legacy is mainly his colossal research output and his tolerant, methodological pluralism, it also includes those ideas that he planted within subsequent generations of researchers by being unusually open minded.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2015

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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