Professor Steve Ward

BA (Hons), Diploma URS, PhD

Professor of Planning History

School of the Built Environment

Steve Ward


Stephen V. (Steve) Ward is widely known internationally for his work in the field of planning history. A founder member, in 1974, and former President of the International Planning History Society 1996-2002, he 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. Over a career spanning almost 50 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. (A selection of those published over the last decade is listed below.)

He often speaks on planning history subjects at conferences and other events in many countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Japan, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Germany, France, Spain, Turkey,  Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland and the UK. In July 2012, he delivered the prestigious Gordon Cherry Memorial Lecture at the International Planning History Society Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. During March 2014 he was an invited academic visitor at Massey University in New Zealand.

Steve Ward joined the then Oxford Polytechnic Department of Planning in 1979 and remained as a full time member of academic staff until 2014. Since then he has held 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 and supervision


Modules taught

  • Planning frameworks: law, policy and professional practice
  • Cities in Historical Contexts
  • MSc Dissertation

Steve Ward main teaching areas are: Planning history and theory and Urban history.


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

Research 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.



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