In 2004, Tony Hall took early retirement from the position of Professor of Town Planning at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK, and moved to Australia where he is an Adjunct Professor within the Urban Research Program at Griffith University in Brisbane.
He started out as a transport planner, with experience in local government consultancy and research, but later retrained in urban design. His academic career in Britain produced notable publications in the field of design guidance and numerous presentations to international conferences. He also served for many years on the Councils of both the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Town and Country Planning Association.
Rather unusually, he was also an elected member of Chelmsford Borough Council for eight years. He led the Council’s planning policy at the political level from 1996 to 2003. He was instrumental in raising the general standards of design resulting in the award to Chelmsford by the UK government of Beacon Status for the Quality of the Built Environment in 2003. His third book was based on his experiences at Chelmsford and was published by Blackwell in November 2007.
Since his arrival in Brisbane, he has been carrying out research on sustainable urban form appropriate to the Australian context. His most significant investigation has been into the disappearance of substantial backyards in the newer Australian suburb. The results have excited considerable interest in the media, including over 50 local press articles, two television and 29 radio interviews. His book on the topic, The Life and Death of the Australian Backyard, was published by CSIRO Publishing in 2010.