I’m writing this article from our wonderful global headquarters building in London. Throughout the office I keep hearing great comments about the Summit of the Americas and the first World Built Environment Forum.
Taking place in the stately Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, the event started off with a thought-provoking speech by the eminent economist and former US Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers. He predicted a long period of slow growth and low interest rates and as an antidote, argued strongly for governments making large, investments in infrastructure – airports, bridges, pipes and other long, overdue projects.
A few themes that ran through both the plenary sessions and the breakout panels were the increasing importance of Millennials – how they are influencing where and how we work, what type of housing is being built and the future role of cars. A second and somewhat related topic was “disruption”. This is likely to take many forms, from new real estate business models to autonomous vehicles. Data analytics is another area that is becoming an increasingly important element of real estate services and it is new entrants with tech, rather than real estate backgrounds, who are leading the way. As for Millennials, many do not see property and construction as cool – we need to do more to show how many opportunities there are and how rewarding it can be to be working on the cities of the future.
With confidence I can say that the overall message we’ve gleaned from the Summit is: Be prepared for change.
One of the best ways to prepare for the future is to continue to stay up-to-date with changes and trends in the industry. With this, I encourage you to book your calendars for the next Summit of the Americas, being held in Chicago from May 1-3, 2017. Chicago is a truly great city for people who love real estate, and like Washington, it will deliver many hours of formal CPD. Which reminds me; for those who were in D.C. for the Summit and first #WBEF, don’t forget to record your hours to your 2016 CPD record.
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