Urben was formed in 2012 as a boutique consultancy focused on planning, design and problem solving for urban environments. With a passion for making our cities better places, we work at a range of scales and both on our own and as part of broader collaborative project teams. Our studio is based in Hackney Wick, overlooking the Lea Navigation Canal on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - a project our founding partners are proud to have been involved with over the past decade.

Our fundamental interest in people and how they interact with their environment is what drives us as a practice, and our diverse project portfolio covers all scales from individual streets and spaces to large area frameworks and major infrastructure projects.

Research and continuing learning is central to our practice ethos, and over the past few years we have spoken at conferences and been widely published in journals, books and online. We have undertaken research on topics including urban agriculture, industry in cities, and how to make better use of the resources beneath cities. In 2014 Urben won a Design Innovation Award to work with Royal College of Art on an applied design project to find new uses for disused underground spaces associated with the construction of Crossrail.

We are a registered practice with the Landscape Institute, and our staff are Chartered members of the Landscape Institute and Royal Town Planning Institute. We are also active members of the Academy of Urbanism, Urban Design Group, International Society of City and Regional Planners and the recently formed Think Deep UK. We believe in the importance and value of good design, and our Design Director Paul Reynolds is a Chair of the Hackney Urban Design Review Panel, and a member of both the D:SE and LB Islington Design Review Panels.  He is also an expert advisor on Landscape and Urban Design to the Northern Ireland Ministerial Advisory Group on Architecture and the Built Environment.

Urben advocates for the importance of strong communities, and as such we are proud to be a London Living Wage employer, and to provide pro bono support to a number of local charities and community interest companies, such as Wood Street Walls in East London, and Ikon Gallery in Birmingham.

Our services include: 

  • Landscape & Visual Impact Assessment
  • Townscape Advice & Assessment
  • Development Consent Management, including for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (Crossrail Act 2008, Thames Tideway Tunnel Development Consent Order 2014)
  • Public Realm Strategy & Design
  • Town Planning
  • Masterplanning
  • Landscape & Planting Design 
  • Spatial and Strategic Urban Planning
  • Expert Witness (LVIA)
  • Built Environment Research and Writing
  • Public Speaking