The Bartlett School of Architecture

Prof Peter Bishop

Prof Peter Bishop

Professor in Urban Design

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Jun 2012

Research summary

My research interests stem from my work in practice, principally how cities evolve, the forces that shape them outside the conscious design process and the mechanisms by which urban change takes place. My book, The Temporary City (co-written with Lesley Williams and published by Routledge in 2012) explores the sequential nature of urban change, and how incremental strategies, as opposed to traditional masterplanning, can be used within a world of increasing economic and political uncertainty to engage individuals and communities. The study, which came out of the work of Design for London, also considers the social and technological drivers behind “temporary urbanism” and looks at ways in which city government can harness this phenomenon. This research interest is ongoing and is backed up by work on temporary use strategies for public sector bodies and landowner/developers.

I would welcome PhD and research students with an interest in this field to broaden this research, especially in the context of urbanisation in Asia, Africa and South America.

Teaching summary

I am teaching with Dr Adrian Lahoud on the MArch Urban Design course which takes the Mediterranean Basin as a region of study and compares the urban characteristics of different cities and regions within a common/different economic, social, ecological and anthropological framework. I am also developing an approach to the teaching of urban design within the curriculum of undergraduate architectural education. As a visiting professor at Nottingham Trent University I lecture and participate in undergraduate architecture projects.

I have lectured extensively and delivered keynote speeches at conferences in Brazil, China, India, Dubai, The USA and Europe as well run workshops and lectured at European, American and Chinese universities.


Kingston University
Doctorate, Doctorate. | 2010
Royal Institute of British Architects
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Fellowship | 2009
Royal Society of Arts
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Fellowship | 2007
University of Manchester
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1976


I am an urban planner and urban designer. I am a director at the architecture firm Allies and Morrison and Professor of Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Architecture. I am interested in the strategies and approaches that can be employed to shape cities within the social, economic and political forces that operate.

Before joining UCL I worked at a senior level in London government for 25 years.

In 1985 as planning director at Tower Hamlets I dealt with the planning and negotiations on major commercial developments, including the redevelopment of Spitalfields Market and Canary Wharf.  From 1997 at Hammersmith and Fulham I dealt with the planning of the BBC media campus at White City and large scale residential developments, including the achievement through negotiations of the first scheme to deliver 50% affordable housing as a “planning gain”. From 2001 at Camden I conducted the negotiations on the Kings Cross scheme, one of the most complex schemes to date and viewed as an exemplar of participative planning and mixed use development.

I was appointed, in 2006, to head up Mayor Ken Livingstone’s new architectural and design unit, ‘Design for London’.  The remit from the Mayor was “to think about London, what makes London unique and to devise strategies and projects to make it better”. Design for London operated as the focus for design leadership for London government, and built up an international profile, seen by many cities as a unique experiment in urban planning and design.

In 2009 I combined my role at Design for London with being deputy CEO at the London Development Agency. This increased the scope of the design team and integrated master planning with environmental programmes and land management and development. Out of this work emerged new strategies for the regeneration of east London including the Olympic Legacy master plans, the plans for The Royal Docks, London’s green Enterprise District and The London Cable Car.

I took up a directorship at Allies and Morrison-Urban Practitioners in 2011, and now work on a wide range of urban strategies and design studies in London, across England and overseas. I am also retained as a planning and design consultant by the law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner.

In 2011 I was commissioned by the British Government and The Design Council to examine and report on how architectural and urban design could be embedded in government policy thinking and local practice. The Bishop Review was published in October 2011 and was considered as part of the Government reform of the UK planning system.

In May 2012 I was appointed Professor of Urban Design at The Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL.