Peter Head

Founder & Chair, Resilience Brokers
About Peter Head

Peter Head is a champion of sustainable development. He established the Ecological Sequestration Trust in 2011, advocating that changing the way we invest public and private money in the built environment could be made significantly more effective if the public and private sectors adopt sustainable-development principles.

Peter established Resilience Brokers, the Trust’s global delivery programme, in 2017 to mobilize collaboratively through lateral partnerships the 'missing middle' of development actors and knowledge partners to provide city-regions around the world the tools and support they need to advance rapid systems transformations for climate-resilient cities through integrated approaches to planning and financing across sectors.

Trained as a civil and structural engineer, Peter is a recognised world leader in major bridges (receiving the OBE in 1998 for successfully delivering the Second Severn Crossing as Government Agent), in advanced-composite technology, and now in sustainable development in cities and regions. He joined Arup as director in 2004 to create and head Arup’s global planning and integrated urbanism practice, which by 2011 had doubled in size to more than 800. With Arup, he directed a special multidisciplinary team's pioneering work on the Dongtan Eco-city planning project, voted by Chinese developers in 2005 as the most influential development project in China.

Peter has been the recipient of many awards for his work, including IABSE's Award of Merit, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal, and the Prince Philip Award for Polymers in the Service of Mankind. In 2002, then-Mayor Ken Livingston appointed Peter as commissioner of the newly-formed London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC), which spearheaded and oversaw how sustainability principles would be embedded into the Greater London Authority's planning activities as well as critical to London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics Games and its legacy planning. In 2008, he was named by the Guardian Newspaper as one of 50 people that could 'save the planet' and the same year by Time Magazine as one of 32 global eco-warrior 'heroes of the environment.' The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) awarded Peter the 2008-2009 Brunel International Lecture, one of the highest hounors in the engineering profession with signature lectures in over 12 leading universities around the world on all inhabited continents, and authoring the lecture's accompanying seminal paper, 'Entering the Ecological Age: the Engineer's Role'.

Peter received an honorary doctorate in engineering from Bristol University, where he is Visiting Professor in Sustainable Systems Engineering since 2009. The Royal Academy of Engineering awarded Peter the 2009 Sir Frank Whittle Medal for sustained achievement with a profound impact on engineering, noting Peter's work towards delivering an environmentally-sustainable built environment in a rapidly-urbanising world. Peter was awarded the CBE by the Queen for services to civil engineering and the environment in the 2011 New Year Honours List. The same year, he was appointed Visiting Professor in eco-cities at Westminster University. He was a lead contributor and co-author of the Lancet Commission on Planetary Health's 2015 special report, with the Rockefeller Foundation, on safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch. In 2017, Peter received CEMEX Foundation's annual lifetime achievement award, and in November of that year he delivered the annual Nathaniel Lichfield Lecture of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

In 2018, UNISDR appointed Peter to its advisory board for the next United Nations Global Assessment Report (GAR) on Disaster Risk Reduction, to move forward the implementation of the Sendai Framework.