Future proofing - Issue 171 - Magazine | Monocle

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“The focus for 2024 must be a robust drive toward net zero, as well as addressing the urban affordability crisis. To tackle these challenges, there’s a critical need for the industry to unite – architects, planners, developers and other stakeholders must come together to form a cohesive, visionary voice. There are bright spots: we can see groups of pioneers bringing forward transformative ideas while technological advancements, particularly in property technology, offer significant potential to revolutionise our industry.”

Coen van Oostrom
Founder and CEO, Edge, The Netherlands

“Issues in 2024 include a severe shortage of skilled construction workers and concerns over carbon taxes and environmental protection. Addressing these challenges involves designing for waste reduction, enhancing construction methods such as prefabrication, investing in education and prioritising the use of local materials. Sustainable and eco-friendly materials are gaining maturity, while local architectural styles are being increasingly valued.”

Aaron Lee
Deputy chairman, JUT Land, Taiwan

“The buzzword for property developers and agents is ‘housing’. The rise in interest rates and the weak rental market have contributed to housing becoming one of the biggest challenges for Portuguese politicians, who have created two legislative packages called Mais Habitação [More Housing] and Simplex Urbanistico [Urban Simplex] with measures designed to increase supply.”

Sofia Rodrigues Nunes
Co-head of Real Estate, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, Portugal

“Initiatives in schools can help to showcase our industry, along with large-scale efforts to engage young people through employability programmes, mentoring and paid work experience.”

Andrea Carpenter 
Director, Diversity Talks Real Estate, UK

“I see a massive commercial opportunity in investing in buildings that are at risk of being stranded assets from a sustainability perspective and making them more environmentally friendly. This means identifying how you can reposition a building to have a measurable positive impact.”

Alexander Bent
Co-founder, Undivided Ventures, Hong Kong

“Preparation is the key word for this year: paperwork, licensing and assembling land for new projects. The continued strength of the office market in Ho Chi Minh City is a major bright spot in southeast Asia.”

Philip Cluer
COO, Refico, Vietnam

“Intelligent concepts and customised solutions are in demand: watch out for subsidised projects and neighbourhood developments, such as multi-generational housing, based on environmental, social and corporate governance criteria. Commercial development is on the up. Companies are reorganising to shorten value-creation routes, giving the sector a positive boost.”

Michael Körner
Managing Director, Invest Region Leipzig, Germany

“As well as sustainability, we should focus on affordability and creating ways to integrate better into the community fabric of a city. The industry needs to get used to having its asset use change quickly. It still thinks in long-term trends that don’t reflect changing customer behaviour. We need, for instance, to look at the way digital media has freed up how customers consume their product; people lead more mobile, fractional lives and our homes also need to be able to adapt. On the bright side, consensus is forming about co2 standards in construction.”

Claus Mathisen 
CEO, Urban Planners, Denmark

“There will be many players who will breach loans and be in self-preservation mode. For others, assets will be repriced and they’ll find wonderful opportunities to invest. The real-estate industry is facing a mountain of challenges, from building safety issues to office vacancy and valuation crunches because of the interest-rate environment. Sectors such as housing, hospitality, studios and data centres, where owners know how to operate assets, will continue to do well.”

Ryan Prince
Vice-chairman, Realstar Group, Canada

“There’s a new reality and this must be acknowledged, addressed, managed and celebrated. The world has changed, and so we must address our previous assumptions. People are social creatures and have both a need and a desire to engage, experience, interact and have a community. This is an essential element to design and development that spans across all sectors of real estate.”

Hanna Struever
Owner, Retail Portfolio Solutions, USA

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