How Buro Happold is transforming the built environment

The world is changing, and our urban infrastructure must adapt. What is the catalyst? Climate change, shifting populations, changing economies and technological disruption mean that previously integral structures can become irrelevant.

Cities change constantly, and at Buro Happold, it is our role to see the opportunities that exist in this built environment. We help our clients identify their seemingly stranded infrastructures, helping them see the potential for reinvention. This is our opportunity to reimagine our cities, to transform our cities for the future.

Decades of experience reimagining our cities

Over the past two decades, Buro Happold has consulted with public authorities and private organizations across the country on projects that creatively reimagine underperforming infrastructure. We enable our clients to adapt these assets into people-friendly public spaces, structures and districts that generate jobs, improve the environment, provide recreation, and draw residents and visitors.

Some of these projects include the Erie Canal, the High Line, Jamaica Bay Gateway National Recreation Area, Fort Tilden Historic District, the Lower Manhattan streetscape, the Chicago Pedway, Richmond Bridge Park, Ocean Park Hong Kong, the Eden Project and the Changing Course ideas competition.

A strategic approach

Buro Happold has developed a suite of strategic approaches and analytic solutions to develop implementable visions and business cases for the adaptive reuse of infrastructure in transition. These assets present an opportunity to reinvest in public infrastructure to improve quality of life and enhance the vitality of communities. 

Our teams work on a multitude of scales. We facilitate the transformation of large public realm infrastructure assets, such as the Erie Canal, Jamaica Bay, Providence Bridge and the High Line, triggering real economic and social change. Our experts also support the transition of industrial buildings and districts such as the London Olympic Park and Battersea Power Station.

Infrastructure is both the grease and the glue of the global economy, and because economies are always changing, so are infrastructure needs.  Transforming underutilized urban infrastructure enables improvement to city areas that are otherwise blocked from development. Defunct structures can blight neighbourhoods and urban districts, but through careful planning, these structures become resources for urban development, generating new jobs and an improved sense of wellbeing for the community.

Delivering benefits for all

Cities are places where people live together for the mutual benefit derived from economies of scale of large public infrastructure. However, as technology transforms the economy, modes of production and distribution also evolve.

Alongside political officials, designers, policy makers, builders and asset owners, Buro Happold invents new uses for defunct infrastructure that will once again allow these systems to provide public benefit in a new era, enabling the circular economy at the urban scale.

The design and re-design of our urban infrastructure demonstrates our commitment to live together in equitable, sustainable, and resilient cities.

What do we offer?

Buro Happold offers a suite of targeted services to steward successful implementation of transformation strategies.


  • Baseline assessment
  • Market analysis
  • Scenario testing
  • Data analytics
  • Visioning, strategic planning and story development
  • Stakeholder outreach and engagement
  • Competition management and RFP development
  • Project management of interdisciplinary teams
  • Economic impact analysis and incentive initiatives
  • Engineering and technical advisory
  • Real estate advisory
  • Infrastructure planning
  • Governance structures and organizational change
  • Funding and implementation strategies

Talk to us

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