Oral history of British science

Head, Peter (Part 11 of 14)

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  • Subjects

    Civil Engineering

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  • Recording locations

    The British Library

  • Interviewees

    Head, Peter, 1947- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 11 [50:30] Comments on lengthy process leading up to PH joining Arup: sensitivities over PH move to a competing firm leading to secret negotiations; Arup rarely successfully bringing people in from outside; PH, at Maunsell, working with Arup over London regional network; anecdotes about Maunsell reactions to him leaving for Arup and attempts to persuade him to stay; Arup status lending support to integrated planning approach. [04:40] Comments on: innovation and integrated approach, urban planning and efficiency; PH feelings on starting at Arup, people management skills allowing him to reorganise team effectively; Arup work with Shanghai Industrial Investment Corporation [SIIC] to develop ecological city project in Shanghai, China. [08:20] Description of unique working atmosphere of Arup: flat management structures, funding for innovative ideas, difficult report structures, high proportion of business from existing clients leading to little marketing. [12:00] Comments on PH team at Arup: Chris Tunnell leading planning and economic team; Paul Johnson's environmental team; transport planning group, anecdote about working with 'Lord of Rings' films' software team on crowd simulation; urban planning group, issues with integrating group into integrated planning team, Malcolm Smith's teams skills at sustainable urban design; [16:45] integration between different groups physically and managerially, involvement of regional offices in Bristol and Manchester; use of new communications technology not superseding face to face contact. [20:00] Comments on Shanghai Dongtan eco-city project: SIIC land on undeveloped Chongming Island in Hong Kong; SIIC plans for eco-city with Arup; PH asked to lead project; long process toward memorandum of understanding on an eco-city plan for Chongming and a model that could be applied elsewhere in China; Arup local politics with Hong Kong office; frustrations over long negotiations and replanning; signing on Memorandum of Understanding at 10 Downing Street with prime minister Tony Blair and Chinese president Hu Jintao; difficult points of negotiations. [26:15] Description of Dongtan eco-city: eventual plan for a 300,000 person city; Arup role master planning city; client desire for extensive innovation. [29:35] Comments on background of Chinese politics and need for more sustainability in development and Western reactions to Chinese approach. [32:45] Comments on planning process and modelling tools for Shanghai eco-city: anecdote about PH sleepless night over coordinating planning leading him to writing specification for integrated planning Global Integration System [GIS] model; [36:45]description of model; surprising discovery that using renewable powered vehicles only, could dramatically change buildings and their energy use; new ways of growing food in a city; similarity of city appearance to Regent Canal area of London; [43:10] degree of improvement in energy use and other measure over existing cities; use of green roofs and renewable energy sources. [44:35] Comments on lessons for existing cities from eco-city planning:anecdote about 'Sunday Times' publicity to project, leading to PH presentation for Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Deputy Prime Minister Ken Livingstone; London climate change action plan of 2007 developed by Mark Watts; C40 city network of cities with low carbon action plans. [48:00] Remarks on reasons Dongtan has not yet been built, lack of approval from Beijing, work on other developments around China.

  • Description

    Interview with civil engineer, Peter Head

  • Related transcripts

    Peter Head interviewed by Thomas Lean: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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