Oral history of British science

Head, Peter (Part 12 of 14)

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  • Subjects

    Civil Engineering

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    The British Library

  • Interviewees

    Head, Peter, 1947- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 12 [44:30] Comments on London Olympics sustainability planning: PH team in Arup previous work with Mark Bostock on Channel Tunnel rail link across London; Bostock proposing Stratford site for Olympics to Ken Livingstone c.2002; Arup work with Olympics bid team, visiting Olympics bid team offices for workshops with sustainability framework, planning for process if London won; concurrence of Olympics planning with Shanghai eco-city planning; [05:23] anecdote about learning of Olympics bid success whilst in Shanghai in 2005; opportunity for Olympics transforming London and for Arup; Arup team planning for Olympics; sustainable development framework; anecdote about meeting at 10 Downing Street with Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone, need to deliver on framework. [08:50] Remarks on success of sustainable planning: planning for public transport for Olympics; green status of Olympics, plants, waste management; social issues, volunteering. [10:35] Remarks on crowd modelling: anecdote about poor crowd planning for World Expo at Shanghai. [12:15] Remarks on: Mark Watts, political appointee and who became an expert in city governance and joined Arup after Ken Livingstone lost election; PH confidence in sustainable methodology after Olympics process; [16:00] ongoing work of Arup team with Olympics legacy. [17:15] Story about how PH's Institute of Civil Engineers' Brunel lecture of 2008/09 on how world wide sustainability could be obtained by 2050: taking lecture to 33 countries; evolving nature of lecture, such as inclusion of Seoul redevelopment project; need for more cycling and better water management; personal journey for PH with realisation that delivering sustainability schemes was the problem, need for expert advisory body; [24:15] creation of Institute for Sustainability c2008, now with PH as Chairman; PH deciding to set up a charity to spread sustainability model and open source tools around the world, leading PH to leave Arup in 2010. [27:30] Comments on PH feelings about caring for natural world: childhood experiences of natural world; life experiences in civil engineering; expanding understanding during Brunel lecture tour; Li Ka-shing invite to Shantou dialogues on sustainable development with Olaf Gerlach-Hansen and Jeff Mulgan and Martin Porter; PH realisation of importance of including historical and cultural factors in dialogues about the future, leading to formation of Culture Futures with Olaf Gerlach Hansen to bring art and cultural figures into discussions about sustainable development, with workshops at COP14, COP15, and COP17; [34:15] Story about Climate Exchange conference at Hong Kong in 2012 with climate scientists and Chinese government leading to PH formation of charity: background of concern for future catastrophe, Cancun COP conference, PH concerns for grandchildren; PH questions to British government speaker John Ashton about difficulties with power station emissions; Santa Raymond questioning PH as to what could be done, inspiring him to set up small group of experts; discussions with wife about setting up a sustainability charity with pension lump sum; CH informing Arup of decision to leave in 2007. [39:20] Comments on media attention: great interest in Dongtan project, counterproductive in scaring Chinese government about deliverability; PH greater use of social media; PH appearance on CNN; Time magazine and Guardian naming him as one of the 50 environmental heroes who could save the world; sense of responsibility.

  • 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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