Ian Wray is a Visiting Professor in Civic Design, Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Liverpool, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. His research interests centre on infrastructure planning and history, regional economic development and world heritage.
He is vice chair of World Heritage UK, a member of the General Assembly of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a former trustee of the Town and Country Planning Association, where he chaired the TCPA’s Urban Policy Group in 2016. He was chief planner, Northwest Development Agency, where he led the team responsible for transport, planning and housing. He has been an external advisor to various bodies, most recently the North West Business Leadership Team.
He is the author of ‘Great British Plans - Who Made Them and How They Worked’ (2016) and of more than 100 articles and papers on planning, economic development, high speed rail, and mega projects. In addition to technical and academic publications, he contributed as a journalist to the Architects Journal, Management Today and the Guardian. His co-authors have included Dr Chia Lin Chen, Alan Chape and the late Professor Sir Peter Hall.
He is currently working on a book on American infrastructure and mega projects: ‘Plans That Made America - How People and Government Shaped the Wealth of a Nation’, for publication in 2020. He is a member of an academic network led by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which is monitoring the UK’s metropolitan mayors and combined authorities; and he is also working with Vincent Goodstadt, Professor Cecilia Wong, Professor Alasdair Rae and others at the universities of Manchester, Sheffield and University College London, establishing an independent commission on spatial policy in the United Kingdom, to give advice to government in 2019.