Peter Calthorpe’s long and honored career in urban design, planning, and architecture began in 1976, combining his experience in each discipline to develop new approaches to urban revitalization, suburban growth, and regional planning.
In 1983, Peter Calthorpe founded the award-winning firm of Calthorpe Associates devoted to sustainable urban design and planning globally. Throughout his career in urban design, planning, and architecture, he has been a pioneer of innovative approaches to urban revitalization, community planning, and regional design. For his contribution in redefining the models of urban and suburban growth, Calthorpe was awarded ULI’s prestigious 'J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development' in 2006. He is one of the founders and the first board president of Congress of New Urbanism. Metropolis Magazine claims: “The titles of Peter Calthorpe’s books define the recent history of urban design in its most vital and prescient manifestations”.
In 1986 he, along with Sim Van der Ryn, published Sustainable Communities, a book that inspired several generations of new thinking in environmental design and helped launch ‘sustainability’ as a defining goal of many ecological efforts. In the early 90’s he developed the concept of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) highlighted in The Next American Metropolis, an idea that is now the foundation of many regional policies and city plans around the world. In 2001 he published The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl with Bill Fulton, explaining how regional-scale planning can integrate urban revitalization and suburban renewal into a coherent vision of metropolitan growth. His seminal plans for Portland, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and post-hurricane Southern Louisiana demonstrated a more interactive approach to environmental design at the Metropolitan scale. His latest book, Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change, documents his work relating patterns of development to energy and carbon emissions, along with other environmental, social and economic impacts. Recently he led a groundbreaking state-wide urban design effort, Vision California, to inform the implementation of the state’s Climate Change legislation.
After studying at Yale’s Graduate School of Architecture, he joined the Farallones Institute as Director of Design. Beginning private practice in 1978, with the firm of Van der Ryn, Calthorpe and Partners, his work ranged from large community plans to energy efficient residential and commercial buildings. His architecture, planning, and research from this period established his leadership in passive solar design, producing three National HUD awards.
Since forming Calthorpe Associates in 1983, his work expanded to include major projects in urban, new town, and suburban settings within the United States and abroad. Internationally his work in Europe, Asia and the Middle East has demonstrated that community design with a focus on environmental sustainability and human scale can be adapted throughout the globe. His current work throughout China is focused on developing standards and examples of Low Carbon Cities in Beijing, Chongqing, Kunming, Zhuhai and other major cities. Through design, innovation, publications, and realized projects, Peter Calthorpe’s 30 year practice has helped solidify a global trend towards the key principles of New Urbanism: that successful places – whether neighborhoods, towns, urban districts or metropolitan regions – must be diverse in uses and users, must be scaled to the pedestrian and human interaction, and must be environmentally sustainable.