Header image

Breakfast with Ben van Bruggen

Track 2
Tuesday, March 19, 2024
7:00 AM - 8:15 AM
Isthmus cafe: 191 Cuba St, Wellington (entrance around the corner on Vivian St).


Group discussion: The Urban Room - create spaces for critical conversations Where might you go to show an interested child or a first-time visitor the evolving story of your city’s development? How can we communicate, inspire and encourage debate, discourse and discussion about the past, present and future of our cities? The Urban Room presents a new way of addressing this. It is a physical and virtual space dedicated to explaining the changing nature of a place. For Auckland, this means the challenges of climate degradation, finding adequate housing, effective transport and the unique identity of a Pacifica city. Long-term city planning is complex. Our electoral and financial cycles are often short and it may well be easier to follow the status quo rather than choose to confront the challenges facing future generations. While councils set out long-term goals and objectives through strategic documents such as the Auckland Plan 2050, we still struggle to describe how Auckland and other cities will develop. For success, it is essential we take a long-term and inclusive approach to city planning. We not only need to find new ways of engaging people living in the city with local government, central government, businesses, tourists, and universities but also bring all parties to the table, not just the most vocal. Urban rooms are already commonplace in European cities and in Asia. Shanghai’s Urban Planning Exhibition Centre is a prominent six-storey building in the centre of the city that proudly displays a huge scale model of the city. Singapore’s mega model is located in the city gallery. Since 1999 it has been telling that city’s story while making planning information accessible and digestible. The Urban Room in Aotearoa is an independent forum for debating the choices we face and understanding what sort of place our cities are and how they will develop in the future.


Agenda Item Image
Ben Van Bruggen
The Urban Room

The Urban Room - create spaces for critical conversations

7:15 AM - 7:30 AM


Ben is a passionate Urbanist. His mission is to bring talented people together to understand our places, apply deep knowledge and implement new approaches to making better cities. Lifting the level of debate about the design of our cities is crucial to accelerate our understanding and our ability to adapt to urban challenges. He established van Bruggen Urbanism in London in 2012 and after working on many high profile projects in the UK and elsewhere, he brought this global experience (and his family) to Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. His new venture embodies his passions. The Urban Room Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is an independent membership organisation; a hub of city know-how, where solutions to urgent city issues can be tackled and debated in a cohesive, productive and holistic way.