MIPIM 2020: What is the real estate community saying about ‘future cities’?

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MIPIM 2020: What is the real estate community saying about ‘future cities’?

The dawn of a new decade will always bring a certain symbolic significance to a gathering of minds in real estate, or any industry for that matter. In the case of MIPIM 2020, which is now fewer than 40 working days away, it’s a milestone moment to explore the macro trends that will shape the way humans interact with the built environment for years to come.

Understanding exactly what drives key conversations is paramount ahead of any major event – and this year we wanted to really get under the skin of one of the biggest topics of the year: ‘future cities’. At the forefront of future-city development is Egypt – which Innesco will be supporting at MIPIM for a second consecutive year. Responding to huge population growth, Egypt is developing ambitious masterplans for 15 new cities across the country. With a project of that scale comes a number of fascinating opportunities for the public and private sector.

Through a mass forensic analysis of the sector – the stories, discussion topics, hashtags and influencers that have emerged among the real estate investment community around the subject of future cities over the last three months – we uncovered key related themes that we can expect to guide some fascinating discussions, around Egypt and other future city projects showcased on the French Riviera in March.


Of all of the social media mentions of ‘future cities’ since October last year…


  • 20% also mentioned ‘mobility solutions’

We can expect model cities of the future to be those most willing to contest a century of car-centricity, and refocus priorities towards quality of life. Within the last week we have seen more major progress being made in the ‘mobility revolution’ with Toyota announcing its plans for ‘Toyota Woven City’ and Hyundai and Uber teaming up to launch a prototype for a self-driving flying car, which could be available in some of the world’s most iconic cities from 2023. Of course, not all cities are in a position to implement flying car systems any time soon. However, no matter how close a city is to advanced mobility models, the public sector must begin laying the ground work for integrated mobility – mapping out what it might look like and how their cities might evolve in tandem to improve life for the people that live there. One city in particular has mobility solutions high up on its agenda – Oslo – another region which Innesco has represented at MIPIM for two years. Vowing to become the world’s first car-free city and by the end of 2019, it had taken several significant steps towards this goal. Now that cars have been removed from the streets, Oslo has the potential to become a testing ground for new solutions – and a model country for others wanting to take a similar route.


  • 20% also mentioned ‘community engagement’

Our analysis revealed that a people-centric or ‘community’ approach to urban planning is central to any discussion around future cities. This calls into question methods for embracing new technologies, social media, collaborative design, community policy mapping and other innovations to overcome issues associated with increasingly crowded and complex urban conurbations. We’re keeping a close eye on MIPIM’s planned ‘Engaging citizens and communities for social purposes’ session at 16.30 on Wednesday 11th March, which should spark some interesting debate over the sector’s biggest issues regarding community engagement.


  • 44% also mentioned ‘smart cities’

It should come as no surprise that ‘smart cities’ emerged as one of the most mentioned terms alongside ‘future cities’, with digitisation, big data, the internet of things, automation and AI providing the infrastructure for the sustainable, inclusive and fully integrated cities of the future. We anticipate that central to the discussion around smart cities at MIPI will be the convergence of machine and human learning in their development.


  • 100% also mentioned ‘human’

City planning, strategies and innovative solutions are all very well, of course, but at the heart of it all is the humans who will be affected by it. The social aspect of real estate is ever so important, not least as both the population and rates of urbanisation are growing exponentially, placing heavy demands on the entire industry. In line with the official theme for this year’s 31st annual MIPIM – “The Future is Human” – we were thrilled to see that the social dimension of development is being recognised in the discourse, and that a human-centred, bottom-up approach, where people will be able to make choices according to their own preferences, is being taken.


This insight puts us in good stead to tackle MIPIM head on, with an informed and contextualised approach. We are excited to join the various discussions down in Cannes, and look forward to meeting you at MIPIM 2020.


Andrew Smith

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