Percy Edwin Alan Johnson-Marshall (1915-1993 ) was one of the most energetic of a generation of town-planners who began their careers in the 1930s and, after the Second World War, dedicated their lives to the creation of a new world of social equity through the radical transformation of the human environment.
Born in Ajmer, India, he was brought by his parents, via the Middle East, to England in the 1920s . In 1931 Percy followed his brother Stirrat Johnson-Marshall to the School of Architecture at the University of Liverpool. Here he studied under the two most eminent professors of the period, Sir Charles Herbert Reilly and Sir Leslie Patrick Abercrombie.
After gaining the Diploma in Architecture (with distinction), in 1936 , Johnson-Marshall entered public service as assistant architect, first for Middlesex County Council, then for Willesden Borough Council (1936-1938 ). In the meantime he had taken a postgraduate certificate in Civic Design, at the University of Liverpool Department of Civic Design.
In 1938 Coventry City Council created its new City Architect's Department, appointing the highly respected Donald Evelyn Edward Gibson, later Sir Donald, as Chief Architect. Johnson-Marshall was hired by Gibson and given the post of Senior Assistant Architect in charge of redesigning the obsolete city-centre, in 1939 . The design of the new civic centre was given added impetus when Coventry was devastated in a bombing raid in November 1940 .
Johnson-Marshall was called-up for military service in 1941 and, after basic training in England, saw service with the Royal Engineers in India and Burma. During his time in the army, he lost his first wife in Coventry and met and married his second wife in India. He was also actively involved in the Service's Architect's Technical Organisation (SATO), leading teaching groups, giving lectures and writing articles on planning. Having achieved the rank of Major, he was attached to the Government of Burma as an advisor on reconstruction and, with William Tatton-Brown, devised a reconstruction plan for the country (1946 ).
After demobilisation, Johnson-Marshall worked as Assistant Regional Planning Officer for the newly created Ministry of Town & Country Planning (1946-1948 ). During this time he took the intensive completion course, at the School of Planning and Research for Regional Development (SPRRD), in order to gain his Diploma in Town Planning.
In 1949 Johnson-Marshall was appointed Senior Planner, in charge of Comprehensive Development Areas to the Architect's Department of the London County Council. He was also a part-time teacher at the SPRRD and, from 1948 , Secretary of the School of Planning Club. From 1956 to 1959 he was Group Planning Officer for North-East London before taking up a post as Lecturer in Planning at the newly-created Department of Architecture, at the University of Edinburgh. There he set up the Planning Research Unit, in 1962 , which undertook a number of regional surveys for the Scottish Development Department. In 1964 , he became Professor of his own Department of Urban Design and Regional Planning. He retired from this post in 1985 , becoming the director of the Patrick Geddes Centre for Planning Studies, until his illness in 1987-1988 .
After Johnson-Marshall was appointed Planning Consultant to the University of Edinburgh, a firm of planning consultants, Percy Johnson-Marshall & Associates, was set up, in 1960 . During Johnson-Marshall's lifetime, a number of major commissions were carried out, including regional and sub-regional plans, conservation areas, comprehensive redevelopment areas and residential development plans.
During his career, Johnson-Marshall was a member of a number of institutes and involved in numerous other activities. He was elected member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1938 and served as a member of council and of the Education Committee. In 1947 he was elected member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, also serving as a member of council and of the Education Committee. He was a founding member of the International Centre for Regional Planning and Development (ICRPD), in 1954 . He was also a member of: the Executive Committee of the Housing Centre Trust, the Society for the Promotion of Urban Renewal (SPUR), and the MARS Group of the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne. He sat on the World Health Organisation's expert panel on Environmental Health and Planning (1970 ) and was consultant on Human Settlements for the United Nation's Conference on the Human Environment (1972 ), Chairman of the Royal Town Planning Institute's Town and Country Planning Summer Schools, and, from 1977-1980 , Vice President of the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISoCARP). In 1975 , Professor Johnson-Marshall was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), in recognition of his contribution to the planning profession.