Meet the Initiator: Peter Sharratt

Meet the initiator Peter Sharratt

As the world continues to urbanise, as shifts in climate and extreme weather events become more ‘normal’ and as we learn more about the complexity of the challenges that lie ahead; designers and problem solvers have a growing role to play in coming up with the solutions that will make a difference and in helping ourselves and others to re-imagine growth in a changing world.

Some solutions to show the problems are already around us

In my experience, while we know that building and city derived green house gas emissions are affecting our climate with potentially devastating results; what is less well understood is that there are often simple, practical solutions that can not only reduce emissions but make our buildings and cities more resilient to the changes we see happening around us. Some of these solutions involved complex problem solving through the application of advanced technology or modelling techniques but often they are already around us, reflected in local and regionally specific designs, in construction techniques and materials, and are embedded within long standing cultural understanding and behaviours.

It is about leadership

Being able to see a way through the challenges and complexities adds spice to the designers life and opens up a whole new area of creative endeavor that can be highly rewarding for designers, clients and the societies that we serve.

For me it is about leadership and the ability to operate beyond our traditional professional and sectoral boundaries – this requires leadership and why I am committed to Building Sense Now global initiative.

With a background in design, management consultancy and applied research, Peter has over 30 years’ international experience in tackling complex urban growth and socio-economic development challenges. His focus is on economic infrastructure, city regions and connected development.

As Head of Strategic Consulting at WSP, a globally leading multi-disciplinary professional services consultancy with 43,000 staff in over 500 locations, Peter directs a team advising national and regional governments, municipal authorities and public private sector partnerships on economic and social infrastructure development and green growth strategies.

He has a long standing commitment to education and applied research, he is Professor for Industry & Professional Practice at the University of Westminster with the remit to better align academic enterprise activities with industry and societal needs. He was the inaugural Arup Foundation scholar on the University of Cambridge’s IDBE Master Course, and has lead pioneering work on trans-disciplinary complex problem solving


Strategic Planning: Advisor to various green growth transformation programmes including Ethiopia’s integrated industrialisation and urbanisation programme; the UK Government funded smart cities programme; the national tourism infrastructure plan for the Dead Sea, Jordan and a strategic tourism development strategy review in Malta.

City Development: Peter co-led the integrated infrastructure master plan team and the environmental design strategy for Masdar City, in Abu Dhabi. The city was a ‘city laboratory’ demonstrator programme for Smart technologies and city data/intelligence systems. He also had numerous leadership roles in a range of urban planning projects including: the Amman urban expansion plan, Jordan; Jaypee City, India and as part of the leadership board of the China-US-Centre-for-Sustainable-Development, developed ‘circular economy’ city growth models focusing on Smart urban systems for China’s second cities.

Sustainable Buildings: as a former practicing architect, Peter was involved in a number of globally significant, award winning building low carbon and climate resilient buildings including: the passively cooled Process Building for SFC Brewery Malta, the environmental strategy for Stadium 2000 for the Sydney Olympic games, De Montfort University’ Queens Engineering Facility, and Torrent Pharmaceutical Laboratories, India. Special Advisor on a number of national demonstration programmes including the adaptive and intelligent low energy systems to China’s first national Green Building Technology demonstration programme with the Shanghai Research Institute of Building Science (SRIBS), subsequently developed as a national programme and advisor to the low carbon transformation project for SITRA, Helsinki.

Industry Change Programmes: Various, Peter initiated and led ACA, the European Airport Federation’s carbon accreditation scheme, currently covering over 40% of global aviation traffic and includes over twenty certified carbon neutral airports.

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