Post-show report: MIPIM Urban Forum 2020

Political figures of past and present met with private sector leaders and experts in urban planning at the first ever MIPIM Urban Forum in Paris, a one-day conference headlined by Nicolas Sarkozy, French President from 2007 to 2012.

Sarkozy told delegates to “love cities!”, while describing inward-investment strategies for their renewal. He suggested that positive outcomes can emerge from troubled times: “Crises are often opportunities for change,” he noted.

The real estate community was also represented, with Laurent Lavergne, Global Head of Asset Management & Development, AXA IM – Real Assets noting: “The role of investment managers is changing. Assets are different today – years ago they were just about leasing space. Today the industry is more passionate – and we have to understand the needs of end-users and how to adapt our products.”

Suggested Paul Jaeger, Managing Director, Russell Reynolds Associates, in the same session: “There is a lot of pressure in the real estate sector on team leaders. Leadership is more difficult when flexibility is part of the equation. Companies need to find solutions at the governance level.”

Further panels dipped into the sustainability debate with actionable strategies, or explored the data revolution in terms of city management. Meanwhile, the fortunes and fate of a range of asset classes came under the spotlight with a series of rapid-fi re interviews featuring firms from WeWork to Eurofund and Urban Splash.

“Making cities more human” was the main topic of the Forum de la Ville, a series of key afternoon sessions which brought together several French mayors in debate with property sector leaders. Central topics ranged from the “15-minute city”, to transport, density, medium-sized cities, global warming, and mixed-use trends.

There was also an opportunity for the leaders of tomorrow to exchange ideas at the event’s Young Talent Networking lunch, in partnership with the Institut Choiseul. Limited to the under-35s, a brief panel debate showcased the successes of Woodeum CEO Julien Pemezec and US-based entrepreneur Jaebadiah Gardner, Founder & CEO of GardnerGlobal, who described how he had “created a business model that takes into account social justice, but actually generates returns”.


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About Author

Isobel Lee is a real estate reporter and editor, with regular contributions to PropertyEU, the Wall Street Journal and MIPIM's official publications. Based in Rome, Italy, she is also a food and travel writer.

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