ULI Europe Conference, Real Estate Forum Showcase Thought Leadership

More than 660 key decision-makers from the property industry shared best practices on building better communities at the 23rd annual ULI Europe Conference, which was held in London in February 2019 and which attracted a record number of attendees. 

ULI Europe’s flagship event featured prominent thought leaders from the worlds of politics, economics, and real estate, as well as product council meetings, a Young Leaders forum, and exclusive site tours of the most exciting projects around the U.K. capital, which were centered on the themes of: 

– Connected communities and sustainability, based on the example of Grosvenor Estate in Mayfair and Belgravia;
Creative and knowledge-based placemaking, featuring King’s Cross;
Fostering innovation, featuring White City; and
Health and wellbeing, featuring Broadgate and Twentytwo Bishopsgate. 

A highlight of the three-day convening was a celebratory conference dinner, held in the Natural History Museum, where the inaugural ULI European Leadership Award was presented to former ULI Europe Chairman Scott D. Malkin, chairman of Value Retail PLC and SD Malkin Properties. Watch the video. 

The main conference sessions, held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, featured a range of topical subjects, including the following:

Achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in the 21st century: Michael Gove, at the time serving as the U.K. Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, and Lord Adair Turner, chair of both the Energy Transitions Commission and the Institute for New Economic Thinking, discussed how inclusive and sustainable economic growth can be achieved while also addressing issues of climate change and wage inequality. Watch the video.

How city leaders are building sustainable, diverse, and inclusive communities: Tom Murphy, ULI senior resident fellow and a former mayor of Pittsburgh, interviewed Bart Somers, at the time serving as the mayor of Mechelen, Belgium, about his experience rebuilding the town from the economic collapse of manufacturing by investing significantly in the public domain, while embracing diversity and turning it into one of the city’s main assets. Watch the video.

Customer-centric experiences in the age of disruptionPanelists talked about what the real estate industry is doing to embrace disruption, whether by funding tech startups through in-house venture capital funds or by partnering with startups to improve efficiencies and/or their customer experience. Christian Ulbricht, JLL’s global chief executive officer, related the digital journey that the firm is undertaking, which he said was essential for the future success of the business. Sharing the stage with Ulbricht was Natalie Berg, retail analyst and founder of NBK Retail, who recently published a book titled Amazon: How the World’s Most Relentless Retailer Will Continue to Revolutionize Commerce. Watch the video.

– Stabilizing a global financial institution in the age of uncertainty: Jes Staley, chief executive officer of the multinational investment bank and financial services firm Barclays, shared his career experience addressing shifting financial regulations, Brexit and its impact on the bank, and the evolving opportunity presented by new technologies. Staley spent 34 years at JP Morgan Chase, eventually becoming chief executive officer, before taking the leadership position at Barclays. Watch the video.

ULI’s success in holding major member-only events has been replicated in Europe with the creation in fiscal year 2019 of the ULI Europe Real Estate Forum, which debuted in Dublin, Ireland, in September 2018. The event brought together over 200 ULI members to make connections, discuss practical solutions, and share ideas about the future direction of real estate with a particular focus on all aspects of placemaking. 

A second convening of the ULI Europe Real Estate Forum took place in June in Copenhagen, Denmarkreflecting the Institute’s expansion in the Nordic countries. Centered around the theme of “building for life,” the forum, comprising 200 ULI members and guests from the Nordic countries, presented an opportunity to focus on flexibility and adaptive use as a response to the rapid obsolescence of traditional uses for buildings. The event featured world-famous Danish architect Jan Gehl as the keynote speaker. 

The ULI Europe Real Estate Forum has been instrumental in providing an opportunity for European product council members to meet during the summer months. A new product council, focused on technology and real estate, was launched in fiscal year 2019, and more product council expansions are planned.  

Find highlights of the ULI Europe Conference and other Institute meetings in Knowledge Finder. 

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