23 March 2018
Four days a year, Cannes hosts the world’s leading property market, prompting thousands of international delegates to converge on the Cote d’Azur. MIPIM spurs industry debates, work meetings, and networking opportunities on an epic scale, stimulating unique opportunities and conversations. And the pace does not relent once it is over. Back home, the buzz of the Croisette continues, leaving everyone with something to reflect and build upon.
This year, six of our experts made the journey to Cannes. Paula Carney, Head of Planning for London; Simon De Vere, Operations Director for Strategic Advisory; Mark Elton, Environment Director; Craig Hatch, Divisional Director for Asset & Project Management; Nathan Holloway, Divisional Director for Due Diligence; and Rajiv Sudan, Director for Business Development, were in Cannes with the clear intent to develop new relationships and partnerships in strategic real estate, asset management, project management, design services, planning and property consultancy.
Neither their gruelling 18 hour-a-day working schedules surfing a crowded Cannes from one engagement to the next, nor the downpours that battered the Croisette throughout Thursday, lessened their enthusiasm. In fact, they reported a positively infectious mood among all the MIPIM participants, with the conspicuous absence of any talks about Brexit, except when people commented at the end of the week that it was refreshing that the ‘B’ word was not the key topic.
Focus on London, the Midlands, and Northern City Regions
From a UK interests’ perspective, what left an impression on our delegates was the growth and opportunities in London and surrounding boroughs. Our London Planning expert, Paula Carney, made a noteworthy contribution to a very dynamic discussion on the subject of “Planning for 10 million people” at the London stand, on Thursday (pictured, left). Our delegates were also struck by the clear focus on the Midlands, and particularly the investment going into the region with the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, and on the Northern Powerhouse, looking to connect northern city regions.
Connecting Capital with Public Sector Demand
Over recent years we have heard how institutional funds have significant capital to invest but finding ‘bankable’ projects has been challenging. At MIPIM, we were able to connect our public-sector clients with institutional funds and are facilitating investment opportunities by assessing our clients' current asset status and developing project concepts which align with existing infrastructure plans and are of interest to investors.
Another prevalent theme on this year’s MPIM agenda was technology, and how revolutionary disruptive technologies are likely to become within the next 10 years. Driverless cars, for instance, are already a reality. They will soon have a profound impact on the way people commute and on town planning, changing the way properties are rented and reducing the amount of parking space that we will need. Vu.city also offered an exciting perspective on the visualisation of planning proposals for the future, quickly bringing data and ideas to life into 3D models.
Of course, innovative technologies are a necessary path to driving a successful business, and one that we have followed to make positive transformations and improve our productivity. Recently, to add to our 3-D data capture, BIM and broader digital capability, we have introduced a high value Geographical Information System (GIS) as well as developed our own propriety software for asset management surveys and ecological mapping survey systems that will bring many benefits to our clients.
On many occasions, the Twittersphere pointed the finger at the lack of diversity among the crowds pictured at MIPIM. This may explain the popularity of the “pink elephant” badges that became ubiquitous around the Palais des Festivals, alongside the #seetheelephant campaign online launched by London Festival of Architecture, signalling a growing consensus among the industry to embrace diversity and stop inappropriate or discriminatory attitudes. This is a conversation that we firmly intend to continue supporting and a subject for which we want to make a real difference.
For now, the lights may have gone out at the Palais des Festivals but MIPIM is not over, and we are already looking forward to the next one.