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Professor Stephen Crow (1934–2007)

H. Stephen Crow, CB MA FRTPI FRICS FRGS

Colleagues at the School of City and Regional Planning have all been shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Professor Stephen Crow on 5 December 2007. We wish to all send our deepest sympathies to Margaret, his wife, and their family.

Stephen was Honorary Professor of Town and Country Planning Practice in the School for twelve years, and he brought a lively and challenging approach to the School which we all found very rewarding - both academic and support staff, and students. Despite his considerable and high profile duties and responsibilities elsewhere in the planning profession he played a full part in School activities. He was active in the formal teaching role associated for many years with planning law and practice, and also participated in the work of the research groups, many seminars, international conferences and field trips. He also delivered many famous after dinner speeches.

Stephen was very well respected by staff and students alike for his longstanding knowledge of planning practice; and he had a great ability to engage, stimulate and motivate successions of students in their studies. Our students highly valued his teaching. He held an expansive and eclectic knowledge of planning in the post war period, having been part of the planning teams in Lancashire and Hertfordshire (from the 1950s to the mid 1970's), before taking up the role of Chief Planning Inspector and Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate (from 1976 to 1994). This experience was mixed with a deep understanding of the more recent context of planning and regeneration, having chaired many high profile senior planning committees; not least the Governments' committees for Regional Planning Guidance in South-East England (the famous 'Crow report'), and then, more recently evaluating the location of super-casinos.

I found, as Head of School, that Stephen was a great source of advice and inspiration to me in leading complex and creative organisations, and in discussing the realities of balancing practice, research and policy development. He was also in this regard a great conversationalist and internationalist; and I and many of my colleagues will fondly remember long and very enjoyable discussions with him on a wide variety of topics: from Russian planning to the peculiarities of rail and other civil engineering systems from around the world; from the complexities of environmental planning and regional development to the sharing of our experiences of having both been brought up in rural Staffordshire. On all and many more of these topics Stephen brought a keen critical eye and a very high level of intelligence. There were few occasions when on finishing a conversation with Stephen you were not made aware that you had learned something new.

He is a very sad loss for CPLAN both as a colleague and as a planning practitioner who held a unique ability to communicate the realities and intellectual spirit of planning in a highly sophisticated but enjoyable way.

Professor Terry Marsden
Head of Cardiff School of City and Regional Planning