Where People Go (Back to Cities), Development Follows

Dispatches from an Optimistic MIPIM 2015

March 16, 2015

Partner, NBBJ

The mood of this year’s MIPIM — the international real estate conference hosted each year in Cannes, France — was solidly positive, with global real estate strong in many major sectors around the globe: the United States, United Kingdom and Asia in particular. It was also apparent from Norway to Normandy that many European countries and cities are starting to trend upward from the bottom of the 2008 global recession. The UK, in fact, sent some 5,000 attendees, the largest contingent from any country, and showed that London is truly leading Europe on the road to recovery.

France — the host country — was exuberant, with aspirations of large-scale remaking of its key cities. Paris in particular, with its popular “Reinventing Paris” ideas competition, sent the strongest signal of what European cities need to do to stay relevant in the post-industrialized world.

Other countries such as Turkey and Poland portrayed their aggressive stance to attract investment in thriving locations.

Noticeably absent were the once opulent and grand schemes coming out of Russia. The Middle East too was minimally present; however, their products seemed appropriate to a more modest market reality, as world oil prices are still down. As well, it was disappointing to not see more representation from Sub-Saharan Africa, as activity is just starting to increase in this last global development frontier.

The 20,000-plus attendees also seemed to embrace the idea of urban regeneration and the effect of the Millennial generation on the marketplace. Ideas for urban, mixed-use schemes that bring living, working and playing into the same space seem destined to be the way of the future.

With a worn-out larynx and a few microns less leather on my shoes, I again found MIPIM an amazing event for bringing together people who are passionate about not just making a little money in real estate, but about making the world a better, more habitable place.

Image courtesy of Simon & His Camera/Flickr.


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