CoStar Column: Ignore the bad news - this year at MIPIM, we’re keeping calm and carrying on

By Paul Norman - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 7:00

There is plenty of reason to be cheerful at this year's MIPIM, whatever you might see on the news, writes Todd Lundgren, Executive Director, CallisonRTKL.

Given the uncertainty and negativity radiating from our news sources these days, my inclination would normally be to predict a dour mood at MIPIM this year. After my forecast of “cautious optimism” last year, the big-picture forces surrounding development suggest the industry could treat next week’s event as time to reflect and reconsider ambitious development plans.

The reality is, however, that the downbeat mood of our public discourse simply isn’t translating into our conversations with clients across the UK and Europe. While the UK government wrestles with the big issues facing Brexit, our clients are adopting a “just get on with it” approach, focusing specifically on development that regenerates urban areas and refurbishment and expansion plans that extract value from existing assets. The housing ‘crisis’ continues unabated, major infrastructure spending commitments drive continued opportunity, and foreign capital still sees opportunity in London.

Furthermore, there seems to be a growing desire on behalf of the property industry to tackle big problems, almost as if we’ve been newly empowered by need or opportunity to address issues that conventionally have fallen slightly outside our purview. Developers from Birmingham to Budapest to Berlin are seeking our expertise in solving problems of resilience and competitiveness, social inclusion and wellness, local pride and experience, and are looking to us to be visionary friends as much as designers.

At MIPIM this year, we expect to see an industry determined to find opportunity in uncertainty, eager to embrace new challenges, and focused on taking issues into their own hands. On the London and Manchester stands, we anticipate a newly clarified commitment to global-city status and expect to see a strong interest in global expertise applied locally. Likewise, European cities will reveal plans and provoke discussions around how best to carve out their own niches in an uncertain future.

If last year was all about cautious optimism, we predict this year will be about determined optimism, which will no doubt make MIPIM 2018 an intriguing and energising affair.

Todd Lundgren, Executive Director, CallisonRTKL

 

 

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