Prof Stephen Ward

BA (Hons), Diploma URS, PhD
Professor of Planning History
Research Associate OISD:SPG


Stephen V. (Steve) Ward is widely known internationally for his work in the field of planning history. He is a former President of the International Planning History Society 1996-2002 and remains a member of its governing Council. He is also a former editor of the refereed journal Planning Perspectives and continues as a member of its Editorial Board. He is also an Editorial Board member of the American refereed Journal of Planning History. He is one (of three) Academic Editors of the Royal Town Planning Institute book series published by Routledge. Over a career spanning more than 40 years, he has published extensively, mainly on historical matters relating to planning with many books, book chapters, articles and other outputs to his name. His works are widely cited by planning historians and others.

He often speaks on planning history subjects at conferences and other events in a variety of countries, including, since 2006, the USA, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Netherlands and the UK. In July 2012, he delivered the prestigious Gordon Cherry Memorial Lecture at the International Planning History Society Conference in Sao Paulo. A video of the presentation is available at and the presentation itself can also be downloaded here. This can be read in conjunction with the text of the lecture, reproduced in the article listed below (Cities as planning models, 2013) In February 2013, he delivered the keynote address at the conference ‘Windows upon Planning History’ held in Kassel, Germany. During March 2014 he was an invited academic visitor at Massey University in New Zealand.

Steve Ward has a 0.2 FT post at Oxford Brookes University which is fulfilled during Semester 1 (when he normally attends the University on Thursdays and Fridays) and during the summer period (when he normally attends on Tuesdays).

Teaching interests

Planning history and theory, research methods etc

Research interests and consultancy expertise

Planning history, especially the international circulation of planning knowledge, garden cities and new towns, planning historiography, transnational planners.

Examples of recent projects

(with Butina-Watson et al) 2004-2006 Transferable Lessons from the New Towns, undertaken for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. This research aims at identifying transferable lessons from the New Towns Programme for the Growth Areas initiative. The research report was published in 2006 at

Recent publications (since 2006)

In preparation

The Pioneers, Institutions and Vehicles of Planning History, in C. Hein (ed), The Routledge Handbook of Planning History, New York: Routledge (2016) (final version for November 2015 submission).

Planning Diffusion: Instruments, Regulation, Tools and Techniques, in C. Hein (ed), The Routledge Handbook of Planning History, New York: Routledge (2016) (final version for November 2015 submission).

Urban Planning Visits and Anglo-Soviet Communication in the 1930s and 1950s, Russian Journal of Communication, (due for submission July 2015).

Colin Buchanan’s American Journey: A study in British planning attitudes to the United States in the early 1960s, for submission to Town Planning Review before end December 2015 (This is a project funded by the Oxford Brookes University Central Research Fund due to begin August 2015).

Awaiting publication

The Peaceful Path: Building Garden Cities and New Towns, Hatfield: Hertfordshire Publications (estimated publication date, Spring 2016).

Promoting the Olympic City, in J. R. Gold and M. M. Gold (eds) Olympic Cities 3rd edn, London: Routledge (estimated publication date, Spring 2016).

Howard, Ebenezer, entry in Turner, B. S., Kyung-Sup, C., Epstein, C., Kivisto, P., Outhwaite, W. and Ryan, J. M. (eds.) Encyclopaedia of Social Theory, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell (estimated publication date mid-2016).

Internationalising port regeneration: models and emulators, in H. Porfyriou and M. Sepe (eds), Waterfronts Revisited, (publication details currently uncertain).


(with I. R. Cook & K. Ward, Post-war planning & policy tourism: the international study tours of the Town and Country Planning Association 1947-61, Planning Theory and Practice, Vol. 16, no. 2, May 2015, 184-285.

Introduction in E. G. Culpin, The Garden City Movement Up-to-Date, [originally 1914], Routledge: London, vii-xxvii.


(with C. Miller), The new town that never was, Town and Country Planning, 83 (8) August 2014: 348-54.

Introduction in Sir E. Simon, Lady S. Simon, W.A. Robson and J. Jewkes, Moscow in the Making (orig. 1937) Routledge Studies in Planning History Series (reprint with new introduction), (published 2014 with 2015 dateline): vi-xxviii.

(with I. Cook & K. Ward) A springtime visit to the Soviet Union: post-war town planning and policy tourism through the Iron Curtain, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38 (3) May 2014, 805-822.


Archival Research, in K. Ward (ed.) Researching the City, A Guide for Students London, Sage (published 2013, with 2014 dateline), 24-37.

A Cultural History of Modern Urban Planning, in G. Young and D. Stevenson (eds) The Ashgate Research Companion to Planning and Culture, Aldershot, Ashgate, 37-52.

Cities as planning models, Planning Perspectives, 28(2), 295-313.

(with I Cook and K. Ward) Lesson Learning – from Liverpool to Moscow, Town and Country Planning, 82 (7-8) July-August, 344-47.


(with H. Meller), A tribute to Anthony Sutcliffe 1942-2011, Founding joint editor with Gordon Cherry 1986-1996, Editor 1996-2001, Planning Perspectives, 27(2), pp. 167-171.

Re-examining the International Diffusion of Planning, in S. Fainstein and A. Scott (eds) Critical Readings in Planning Theory, (3rd edn), Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 479-498.

Gordon Stephenson and the 'galaxy of talent': planning for UK reconstruction 1942-1947, Town Planning Review, 83(3), pp. 479-496.

Soviet communism and the British planning movement: rational learning or utopian imagining?, Planning Perspectives 27(4), pp. 499-524.

New garden cities and the lessons of the past, Town and Country Planning, 81(9), pp. 381-384.

Spatial planning approaches to growth and shrinkage: a historical perspective, in R. Ganser and R. Piro (eds) Spatial Planning for Growth and Decline - Challenges for Sustainable Development in City Regions, Suburban and Rural Areas, Farnborough: Ashgate, pp. 7-25.


(with Freestone, R. and Silver, C.) The 'new' planning history: reflections, issues and directions, Town Planning Review, 82 (3), pp. 231-262.

Port Cities and the Global Exchange of Planning Ideas, in C. Hein (ed) Port Cities: Dynamic Networks and Global Networks, London: Routledge, pp. 70-85.


Transnational Planners in a post-colonial world, chapter in P. Healey and R. Upton (eds) Crossing Borders: International Exchange and Planning Practices Routledge, pp. 47-72.

What did the Germans ever do for us? A Century of British Learning About and Imagining Modern Planning, Planning Perspectives Vol 25, no 2, pp. 117-140.

Promoting the Olympic City, in J. R. Gold and M M Gold (eds) Olympic Cities 2nd edn, London: Routledge, pp.148-166.


City Planning, in A . Iriye and P-Y Saunier (eds) The Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009


Thomas Sharp as a figure in the British planning movement, Planning Perspectives Vol 23, no 4, pp. 523-533.

International Planning History Society, Thirteenth Biennial Conference, Chicago, July 10-13 2008: Report, Town Planning Review Vol 79, no 5, pp. 581-591.


Promoting the Olympic City, in John R. Gold and Margaret M. Gold (eds), Olympic Cities London: Routledge, pp. 121-137.

Cross-national learning in the formation of British planning policies 1940-1999, Town Planning Review Vol 78, no 3, pp. 369-400.


A historian's view, invited comment on paper by Chris Webster, Town Planning Review Vol 76, no 4, pp. 495-496

City marketing: origin and critique, in Philipp Oswalt (ed.) Shrinking Cities Vol 2: Interventions, Berlin: Hatje Cantz, pp. 724-729 (English edition of earlier publication in German, published May 2006).

Obituary: Jane Jacobs, The Independent, 3.6.2006, p. 42

Cities are fun!: inventing and spreading the Baltimore model of cultural urbanism, in Javier Monclús and Manuel Guardia (eds) Culture, Urbanism and Planning Aldershot: Ashgate, pp.271-286