Thought-leaders in real estate, construction and property management are coming together to discuss the future of cities at seven conferences organized by RICS. The first three stops of the RICS Summit Series Americas 2018, which started in January, were in Houston, San Francisco and Miami. Next month, RICS will be in New York and Mexico City before moving on to Toronto and São Paulo.

John Tory Summit Americas 2014

Each summit tackles the same topics in a similar format but includes local speakers who focus the discussion through a local lens. RICS also hosts the World Built Environment Forum this month in London, England to bring a global perspective to the discussion. JB Straubel, Co-founder of Tesla will be a keynote at the WBEF.

Speakers at the summits include local politicians (Miami Beach’s former mayor Levine spoke on his infrastructure spending to protect Miami’s coastline), qualified professionals and industry leaders. What connects them all is an interest in building resiliency in our major cities.

“Each summit looks at global issues like rapid urbanization, rising sea levels and climate change from local and regional perspectives,” said Peter Smith FRICS, RICS Governing Council member, Americas Chair and an Executive Director with Ernst & Young in the Property Tax Services Group. “Also, at each stop we value a local icon. We started with the Johnson Space Center in Houston and recently Disney World at the Miami Summit. In New York, we’re seeing if the Brooklyn Bridge is worth more than the Golden Gate Bridge and the CN Tower is also on our list.”

Setting the backdrop for the resilience panel, Ryan Colker from the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) presents findings that for every dollar spent on hazard mitigation, six dollars are saved in disaster relief. The panel considers innovative solutions for mitigating risk, which might include more stringent building codes, infrastructure projects or tech-enabled networks for resource-sharing during disasters.

Another highlight has been the PropTech panels featuring CEOs of tech start-ups highlighting how data can be harnessed to improve construction practices, enable more energy efficient facility management, data-driven investments and decision-making.

Real estate thought-leaders have been actively debating whether we’re in the midst of a bubble and how valuation and mitigation measures can insulate investors against risk.

The RICS Summit Series Americas 2018 stops in New York on May 14, Mexico City of May 17, Toronto on June 4 and wraps up in São Paulo on June 20. For more information on the events, visit rics.org.


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