Peter Calthorpe

Peter Calthorpe

Urban Designer

Through design, innovation, publications and realized projects, Peter Calthorpe’s 35-year practice has advanced a global trend toward the key principles of “sustainable communities” and “New Urbanism.” He is considered the father of Transit Oriented Development, described in his book "The Next American Metropolis: Ecology, Community and the American Dream," now a foundation of countless regional policies and city plans around the world. Peter’s realized urban design projects in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East has demonstrated that community design with a focus on environmental sustainability, social equity and human-scale design can be adapted throughout the globe.

“The titles of Peter Calthorpe’s books and practice trace the recent history of urban design in its most vital and prescient manifestations, starting in 1986 with 'Sustainable Communities' followed by 'The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl' and 'Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change.'” 

- Metropolis magazine

Peter is one of the founders and first board president of the Congress for the New Urbanism and a winner of the Urban Land Institute’s prestigious J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. A prolific author of nearly a dozen books, he has served on the President’s Council for Sustainable Development and the UN High Commission on the New Urban Agenda. Peter provided design standards for HUD’s Empowerment Zone and Consolidated Planning Programs during the Clinton administration and helped replan some of the country’s worst public housing.

His urban design work spans from small infill and mixed-use neighbourhoods to new towns, city-wide plans, and regional frameworks. In China, Peter focused on developing now-adopted standards and examples of low-carbon cities. His regional planning work for the State of California led to the development of "UrbanFootprint" software, which quantifies the social, environmental and economic impacts of differing development patterns in advancing low-carbon futures. This tool enhanced his regional planning projects for Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Denver; Chicago; and southern Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

Peter joined HDR in 2019. Most recently, he published a book for the World Bank defining principles and best practices for cities across the globe: "Ending Global Sprawl: Urban Standards for Sustainable and Resilient Development." Additionally, Peter has advanced a scalable solution to the nation’s housing crisis called "Grand Boulevards." While humanizing the asphalt wastelands that divide our communities, this strategy calls for redeveloping outdated strip malls with tens of millions of mixed-income workforce apartments along with new transit and bike lanes. Honoured by Fast Company magazine as a World Changing Idea, the "Grand Boulevards" concept was used to frame the recently adopted California Assembly Bill 2011.