Ariel Benjamin


Driven to make cities better places, Ariel elevates ideas to innovative, pragmatic and actionable strategies.


At HR&A, Ariel specializes in crafting compelling narratives, articulating social and economic benefits, and aligning public and private interests to advance project vision. Ariel has advised some of New York City’s most prestigious institutional and non-profit organizations, including the New York Public Library and LaGuardia Community College, on the increased impact of real estate investments and strategic planning on organizational programming and services. Outside of New York, Ariel has explored creative value-capture financing solutions to transform an abandoned railway into a linear park in Charleston, South Carolina.

With a long-time passion for transportation and urban connectivity, Ariel frequently advises projects at the intersection of real estate and transportation. Ariel has quantified the potential impacts of innovative transit solutions including the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), a proposed 16-mile waterfront streetcar line that would link Sunset Park, Brooklyn to Astoria, Queens, and is assessing the economic viability of creating a new mixed-use community over an active rail yard in Queens.

Ariel brings transportation and regional economic development experience to her work at HR&A. As a member of the Capital Planning and Programming department at the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Metro North Railroad, Ariel drafted a conceptual redesign and proposed scope of work for rehabilitation of the agency’s historic Harlem 125th Street Station, and left a legacy of station-specific bicycle parking investment strategies. Previously, Ariel interned with the Regional Plan Association, where she prepared a policy brief on last mile transit for municipalities in Connecticut, her home state.

Ariel holds a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University.

Member, American Planning Association