The Bartlett School of Planning

Prof Michael Hebbert

Prof Michael Hebbert

Emeritus Professor of Town Planning

The Bartlett School of Planning

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2011

Research summary

Michael's research explores the process of knowledge transfer between scientists and town planners. Trained initially as a historian, he takes a longitudinal perspective, following shifts of theory and practice across the long twentieth century. He has applied the approach to a wide range of topics including street-based urbanism, landscape design, municipalism and regionalism, paradigm shifts in highway engineering, and the application of urban climatology in city design and construction. Recently work includes papers on figure-ground technique, Christopher Wren's London plan of 1666,  campus master-planning and the history of technocracy.

Teaching summary

Ad hoc contributions post-retirement.


University of Reading
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1977
University of Oxford
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1969


Michael was born in Glasgow in 1947 and read Modern History at Merton College Oxford. He pursued his doctorate in the Department of Geography at Reading University under the supervision of Professor Peter Hall and went on to teach planning history and theory first at Oxford Polytechnic (from 1973 to 1979), then at the London School of Economics, where he became director of the interdepartmental Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, and then from 1994 as Professor of Town Planning at the University of Manchester, where he remains emeritus. He joined UCL in 2012, retiring as emeritus professor in 2017.

The apparent diversity of his work – land policy in Japan, economic regionalism in Spain, street architecture in Manchester, railway station design, the history of wind and ventilation, the idea of the garden city, London and its government, collective memory of urban space - masks a consistent underlying interest in the history of planning thought and its mutations in time and space. As ex-editor of ‘Planning Perspectives’, the leading international journal of planning history, he relishes the variety of the field and its relevance to present challenges of city-building.