Ben founded van Bruggen Urbanism in 2012 in London. In 2017 he brought his experience to Auckland, New Zealand to lead and develop the city-wide design strategy for the Auckland Design Office. In addition to establishing van Bruggen Urbanism in New Zealand in 2020, Ben was a Principal at Jasmax, the multi-disciplinary design practice, until November 2021.
Ben works at the city scale to help reveal the potential of projects and places. Establishing a shared understanding of this potential allows delivery of these city-shaping strategies. Ben led the Design Strategy team for Auckland Council, which included the Auckland Design Manual and Maori Design. He worked on the City Centre Masterplan, the Light Rail Project and the innovative Corridor Study, Harbour Crossing and Auckland to Hamilton Rail Corridor as well as representing the Council internationally.
Combining deep knowledge with new approaches to understanding place is a passion for Ben, who believes in demonstrating best practice and contextual relevance. Ben is a founding member of Placemaking Aotearoa, a member of the Urban Design Forum Committee and a Regenerative Practitioner.
Lifting the level of debate about the design of our cities will accelerate our understanding and our ability to adapt to modern challenges. Ben is keen to pioneer new approaches to better cities in Aotearoa through the promotion of a National Design Agency and City Rooms.
Prior to coming to Auckland, Ben held senior roles in the private sector in consultancy and in the public sector. In 2001 Ben joined the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). He was responsible for a number of good practice guides and established the regional network of design review panels. Ben has been a critical friend to teams on projects and city authorities ever since.
Ben has written design policy, guidance and frameworks. He regularly chairs and speaks at international seminars and conferences, gives press interviews and publishes articles. He is a passionate advocate for better cities and how the health of a city shapes human lives. He works to make cities better for everybody.