Ben van Bruggen



Ben van Bruggen is an Urbanist and Urban Planner with more than 25 years of experience working in both the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally, including Europe, Russia, and China and now Aotearoa New Zealand. He is the founder and Director of van Bruggen Urbanism (2012). He has spent the last five years working in Aotearoa New Zealand and is a Space Syntax Representative for the Pacific region.

Ben is working on city-shaping frameworks, infrastructure projects, urban regeneration and housing projects located across New Zealand, the UK, and previously on projects in China and Europe. Since arriving in New Zealand he has worked on projects in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington, including major spatial planning projects such as the Auckland Light Rail, Hamilton Transport Programme Business Case and Let’s Get Wellington Moving.

Ben founded van Bruggen Urbanism in 2012, in London, giving expert advice on design to establish the quality benchmark for projects and how planning and design aspects of planning applications need to be communicated. Prior to this he was Head of Urban Design at Savills, an international multi-disciplinary property firm, where he established a team of 15 urban designers, landscape architects and graphic designers to work on projects in the UK and internationally.

Ben is also the founder of The Urban Room, an influential hub of city design excellence in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. The Urban Room brings people together to generate ideas and solutions to urgent citywide issues.

Recent appointments

Founding member of Placemaking Aotearoa

Committee member of Urban Auckland.

Past appointments

Founding member of the UK Government Home Office Design Review Panel. As a result of this work Ben published a review of the effectiveness of the panel through examining built projects that had been through the design review panel process.

Chair of Inspire East Design Review and Enabling Services.

Co-Chair of the Design South East Design Review Panel.

Deputy Chair of the Lewisham Design Panel. Chair of the Lewisham Gateway Panel.


Ben is regularly asked to speak at professional and industry conferences and seminars on topics of urban design, the future of city design and development, regenerative design and practice, placemaking and masterplanning.


Urban Reset: Unleashing the power of great design in NZ, September 2019. Co-authored.

Report of the National Conference on Design Review, Place  Alliance,  April 2016.

Better Police Buildings, Home Office Policy Unit, 2013.

Design Reviewed Urban Housing, co-editor, CABE, 2004.

CABE / EH Guidance on Tall Buildings, Steering Group member, 2002.


Regenerative Practitioner, NZ, 2021

Master of Urban Design, University of Westminster, UK, 2000

PGDip Urban Planning, University of Westminster, UK, 1996

BA(Hons) Town and Country Planning, Oxford Brookes University, UK, 1994.