Future Cities 2050? We’ve already built them. Ben van Bruggen

30 years ago, technology provided a vision of the future filled with pagers, mobile phones with limited coverage and fax machines.  These have come and gone but our cities are stubbornly slow to change and adapt.  In creating the great city of the future, the design decisions made today matter?

While it’s foolish to predict a technological future, much of our infrastructure, our buildings, streets and public places are recognisable from the past. They endure for decades and centuries. Design of manmade objects isn’t an option but we can decide to design well or poorly, design should work well, be robust and lift the spirits. In creating the great city of the future, the design decisions made today matter.
This presentation explores how our decisions about the design of the city today will have lasting impacts on how we manage our cities in the future. If we prioritise ‘one-size-fits-all’ over context relevant, or an efficient brief to an overtight budget over creating great places, or we allow the demands of the technology over the needs of people we will create cities that are unloved and unliveable.

Ben van Bruggen is the City Design Strategy Manager for Auckland Council. He is an urban planner, designer and urbanist with 25 years experience working in the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally. Auckland is growing and evolving. Ben’s role is to inspire, enable and celebrate great design outcomes for Tāmaki Makaurau.
Ben recently joined the Auckland Design Office from the UK where he is the founding director of van Bruggen Limited, an urbanism consultancy, based in London, UK. It was set up in 2012 to provide advice to clients on urban planning, urban design and architectural aspects of projects, including townscape and heritage assessments and design review services.
Before setting up van Bruggen Limited, Ben was Head of Urban Design at Savills, an international multi-disciplinary property firm. He was involved in leading urbanism projects in China, Russia and Montenegro as well as in the UK.
Ben was Senior Design Review Advisor to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) in the UK where he was responsible for leading CABE’s Design Review work. Ben has been involved in design review work for 18 years and is a leading practitioner and advisor to the industry and government on urban design. He regularly writes about securing design quality through planning and development.