Between 15 – 18 March 2022, Monstarlab participated in MIPIM, a premier real estate event in Cannes, France held at the Palais des Festivals. The event brought together industry leaders from all over the world to drive urban change and discuss the future of real estate sustainability.
The opening keynote was delivered by the former president of the French Republic, François Hollande, who shared his beliefs and positions regarding the significant issues our society is facing with climate change and the economic and social problems that every nation is experiencing. The former president highlighted that the real estate industry must drive the change and work on essential values: liveability, sustainability, resilience, and affordability.
Key themes that emerged over the three-day event included:
- Green is the new black
- Cities for citizens
- The office uprising
- Real estate – Much more than an asset
- Housing first
Below is a summary of these key themes with insights from some of the world leaders in real estate.
1. Green is the new black
Abigail Dean, global head of strategic insights from Nuveen Real Estate, said that the most significant challenge for the real estate industry is bridging the skills gap to achieve net-zero carbon for all buildings by 2050 at the absolute latest. She explains that this requires rapid change in the real estate industry over the coming years and the need to transform existing buildings and design new buildings.
Following COP26, the major climate change event in Glasgow last year, countries around the world, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have committed to Net Zero targets, with the aim of rapid decarbonization to help protect the planet. The real estate industry has a major responsibility to ensure that buildings are equipped with the latest digital technology to support greater sustainability and efficiency.
Abigail Dean suggests that there is a lot of demand for greener buildings now, and not many are available. She added that there is a window of opportunity for those who can get up to speed quickly to take advantage of the potential value uplift, deliver green buildings to the market, and satisfy that demand.
Building managers and operators around the world are implementing the Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics to help drive improved efficiencies in energy consumption. We expect this to continue to rise as more buildings go through digital transformation in the coming years.
2. Cities for citizens
Another key takeaway from MIPIM 2022 was the need for citizens to be more involved in the planning process of buildings and cities. This particularly needs to happen at the local level to ensure that residents’ needs are being met.
Guillemette Colombe, head of consultations at civic tech start-up Make.org explained that with the rapid rise of social media usage, citizens challenge local decisions more and more and want to make their voices heard. She added that citizen involvement brings better decisions which leads to better cities. It generates solutions that are more adapted with better citizen appropriation. Colombe commented that in 2022, many new tools, ideas, and methodologies are available, using field and digital participation. There is also a strong citizen will to participate, especially in the topics that impact them most.
Many local governments around the world, such as Amsterdam, Visakhapatnam, Phoenix, or Mexico City, have demonstrated their commitment to data-informed, local decision-making by adopting e-governance methods or by initiating ‘smart city’ programs. Such programs aim to improve technological capacities and increase data availability to support effective decision-making, but more importantly, they highlight governments’ preparedness to innovate and undergo institutional, local-driven change.
3. Real estate: much more than an asset
Neil Slater, global head of real assets from abrdn, highlighted that collaboration between the private sector, central, and local governments is key. He added that the key opportunity for the real estate industry is to demonstrate that it can truly positively impact both the environment and society.
Slater argued for the need for all stakeholders to build the right ecosystem for communities and, where possible, to anticipate change, plan accordingly, get the infrastructure and environmental considerations correct, and ensure that cities offer an attractive place to live and work.
4. Housing first
Housing affordability will continue to be a hot topic for 2022 as the continued escalating demand across tenures and key locations is not matched by available supply. This was the view of Alex Notay, placemaking & investment director of PfP Capital. She believes that there is a gap between that often-mentioned ‘wall of money’ and the availability of appropriate stock.
Notay said that stabilised portfolios of sufficient scale are thin on the ground, and construction cost inflation, supply chain issues, and development risk all present challenges around delivering new housing at scale.
Globally, more efforts need to be made to create greater housing affordability for citizens in order to keep up with demand and provide comfortable and cost-competitive homes for current and future generations.
5. The Office Uprising
With COVID-19 downsizing from being a pandemic to endemic, climate change is now the biggest challenge for real estate and the world in general. Beverley Kilbride, LaSalle Investment Management, emphasised that investors in offices will need to reassess their assets’ carbon footprint and implement carbon-cutting procedures to comply with advances towards a net-zero future. Kilbride added that institutionalised working-from-home habits will be hard to shift, and companies must look to re-imagine office spaces to lure staff back.
The building and construction industry is responsible for more than a third – 39% – of all global carbon emissions, and daily energy use is only a part of those emissions. Architects and engineers need to create inherent efficiency within the permanent structures of new buildings at the start of projects.
Digital solutions for a better future: MIPIM 2022
Our global society is evolving fast. From the climate crisis, to the demand for affordable housing, becoming digital first will support companies to meet their business goals and needs of their customers.
Wherever you are on your digital journey, Monstarlab can help you to explore and design innovative Smart Place solutions that delight your customers and create spaces that are a joy to live, work and visit. To learn how we have supported our customers in their digital experience strategy, download our case study kit here.
You can read more insights on sustainability, digital inclusion and accessibility from our Smart Places experts via this link.