Live Report: Greening Up the City – Challenges for Real Estate

The panelists covered the topic of making buildings greener and how the diversity of nature and biodiversity helps improve the environment but also positively impacts the people in the surrounding areas as well. However, they mentioned that there were some challenges with this growth at both the political level and at the economical level.

  • Missika Jean-Louis discussed an emerging trend of urban agriculture in Paris and how many startup companies are trying to find ways to make the business model work effectively.
  • He believed that startup companies are helping provide innovation in this arena as they continue to find new ways to make cities green and they are acting as a tool for the future.
  • Boeri Stefano, an architect based in Milan discussed his work with Hines on the Porta Nuova Isola, a 110-meter-tall residential project in Milan with over 1,000 different species of trees and small plants that surround the entire building.
  • Stefano’s firm tested the different trees used for Porta Nuova Isola in a wind tunnel to see the impact against high winds and if they could withstand the different elements because the trees on the top of the building but around the sides as well.
  • There are still constraints at the political level and cities need to edit their master plan to incorporate biodiversity in building, but some municipalities are recognizing the benefits with adding plants and trees on top of buildings such as reducing the amount of carbon and reducing the rising temperatures around cities.
  • The added cost can be a deterrent to encouraging biodiversity on and around buildings, but in a commercial setting, it can greatly improve employee morale and make employees more efficient and effective at their job
  • Advances in technology and building development made it easier to include plants and other biodiversity on and around buildings. One of the previous fears was focused on the ability of the building to withstand the extra added weight from the plants and the trees.
  • Cities around the world are starting to add aspects of biodiversity in their buildings, but every city is a little different in the environmental theme that they are trying to solve.
  • Dham Veronique mentioned how investors and users of commercial buildings do not really care about the biodiversity surround the building and the interaction between the plants but they want to be able to see nature and green spaces.
  • There is importance placed on the marketing value that is added when tenants have the opportunity to have indoor and outdoor working spaces. It’s good for tenant and employee retention.


Casey FashouerCasey Fashouer is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Real Estate of the University of San Diego. Casey is also a contributor and curator for MIPIMWorld.


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