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Urban design expert joins Jasmax to help shape the future of NZ's cities

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Multi-disciplinary architecture and design practice Jasmax has appointed a new Urban Design Principal to its Auckland team. Ben van Bruggen joins Jasmax from Auckland Council, where he led the Strategy team within the Auckland Design Office.

The high-profile appointment underlines the increasing nationwide focus on ensuring New Zealand’s cities are liveable, accessible and sustainable. With his experience shaping major infrastructure projects, large-scale housing developments and urban regeneration schemes in Auckland, as well as in his native London, van Bruggen adds further strength to Jasmax’s award-winning Urban Design team.

Jasmax Chief Executive, Sjoerd Post, welcomed the significant experience van Bruggen brings to the practice.

"We’re delighted to have someone of Ben’s calibre join us, having led multidisciplinary teams around the world and here in New Zealand. His skill in developing major projects that unlock economic, social and environmental value is exactly what we need as our clients tackle the challenges of a chronic housing shortage, infrastructure deficit and climate change. He is passionate about providing the evidence for better outcomes for people that result from good design decisions."

Van Bruggen was enticed to Auckland in 2017 by the rare opportunity to help shape a rapidly evolving city that is experiencing the pressures of intensification. By joining Jasmax, he hopes to take that vision to the next level, tapping into the firm’s multi-disciplinary approach, broad networks and expertise across regions and sectors including education, commercial, residential and health.

"I often say that urban designers don’t realise they’re in the healthcare business," van Bruggen said.

"How we design places fundamentally affects how they will be used. As our cities tackle the implications of migration, climate change and equity, this is our opportunity to be a leading voice in the debate around what we want for our towns and cities in Aotearoa and how we are going to get there - how we can design places to enhance social and environmental wellbeing and create better outcomes for people."

He has previously worked with Jasmax’s Urban Design team on a number of projects, including Auckland’s City Rail Link, the largest public infrastructure project in New Zealand’s history and also its largest public art project.

Alistair Ray, Urban Design Principal at Jasmax, said: "A project of this scale would not be possible without an incredible amount of collaboration between a huge number of partners, from planners and engineers to designers, cultural and environmental advisors, government and of course, urban experts such as Ben. We’ve developed tremendous respect for Ben’s knowledge and skills through our work together, and it’s fantastic to have him as part of our own team going forward. He not only has the vision but the drive to create cities that function better and stand the test of time, something that will be needed more than ever in the years to come."

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