Digital Technology empowering sustainability’s rise up the real estate agenda
Industry experts to probe shifting buyer demands at Cityscape Global Summit
Dubai: Real estate experts addressing the Cityscape Global Summit live and in-person this November will probe shifting buyer demands and identify post-pandemic challenges and opportunities to highlight how sustainability continues to rise the industry’s agenda.
According to Dounia Fadi, Chief Operating Officer, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Gulf Properties, recent shifts in buyer behaviour have led to demand for “live-work-play communities” that demonstrate “the importance of sustainability.”
Fadi predicts the Summit, which runs from 7th – 8th November 2021 at Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC) at the Dubai Expo site, will be a vital cog in the recalibration of the UAE’s real estate industry as it emerges from the pandemic.
“I would like participants to walk away with a better understanding of the UAE real estate sector’s potential, specifically in Dubai amidst the pandemic, as well as the shifting opportunities, challenges and customer behaviour in the current global context,” explained Fadi.
At the Summit, Fadi plans to drill down into the changing habits of buyers, tenants and investors to examine how the UAE can reap the rewards of government moves to ensure safety, growth and sustainability in an uncertain world.
“There are challenges ahead, such as freedom of movement,” added Fadi. “While new variants and outbreaks continue to affect policies, the UAE government’s heads on approach and determination to stay ahead of the curve will give confidence to those who live in the country and external investors. As realtors, we must pass that confidence on to international investors. If the UAE continues to control the pandemic and remain proactive with policies designed to tackle the virus, it will encourage investors, businesses and market movers.”
The Summit will also hear how technology is advancing the recharged demand for sustainable living solutions, with Franco Atassi, CEO Smart Infrastructure at Siemens Middle East, predicting digitally advanced, smart cities will be key.
“Smart cities and digital technologies can make urban communities more efficient, sustainable, safe and convenient for residents,” asserted Atassi. “As the Infrastructure Digitalisation Partner for Expo 2020 Dubai, Siemens is already working with the emirate to develop a model for future smart cities. Our ideal is a city that is truly sustainable and ready for future generations.”
“I see a bright future for communities and individual properties taking advantage of digital technologies to improve their efficiency and the lives of people living in them. By optimising their use of energy and water, for example, properties that are digitally connected can reduce operational costs and add value for owners and investors,” added Atassi.
Elsewhere, Elaine Jones, a UAE real estate veteran and Advisor to Asteco Property Management, will explore the UAE’s need for purpose-built, sustainable developments and deep-dive into the GCC-wide urgency to change the industry’s mentality towards sustainability.
Top of Jones’ explorations are the industry’s need to address the outlook for health improvement districts in the UAE, measuring the success of regional initiatives, creating walkable city districts and examining whether climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic have spawned a shift to lower density type living.
“We need to address what property is required and where it should be located. It is important to spend more time on planning before executing to respond to the change in the way people live and work,” said Jones.
In contrast, John Pagano, CEO of The Red Sea Development Company – which is driving the development of The Red Sea Project, a regenerative tourism destination along Saudi Arabia’s west coast – will examine the industry’s need to urgently look beyond sustainability and press the case for regenerative tourism in a post-pandemic world.
“As an industry, we need to be looking beyond simply being sustainable. We need approaches that actively enhance our destinations and the environments in which they sit,” said Pagano. “There is light at the end of the tunnel; global tourism will rebound. The pandemic has given us time to reflect on how we do business, how we develop new destinations and real estate assets, and I believe there is a growing demand from tourists and end-users for sustainability. Tourists in particular want to visit a new destination and feel like they leave the place better than they found it. Throughout the real estate lifecycle – from design and construction to eventual operations – there is a need for continued change and collective improvement in the way we do things. This makes commercial sense and, ultimately, is the right thing to do for the planet and future generations.”
Organisers of The Cityscape Global Summit believe November’s live event will be a harbinger of a transformative era for a regional real estate industry eager for the first shoots of post-pandemic recovery.
“With the price of luxury properties increasing, giga-projects in Saudi Arabia underway, and ground-breaking legacy and regeneration projects on the horizon, the Middle East is about to enter an exciting region-wide time for real estate,” said Chris Speller, Group Director of Cityscape at event organizer Informa Markets.
“This year’s Summit will provide the highest-level of thought leadership from across the real estate industry on the steps needed to move the sector beyond recovery across residential, commercial, industrial, retail and hospitality. It will mirror and address the three main sub-themes of Expo 2020 – opportunity, mobility and sustainability – and explore how these themes will affect the future of the entire real estate sector.”
The live and in-person event will be held in adherence with Informa AllSecure, an enhanced health and safety standards that raise the bar on safe, hygienic, productive, and high-quality organised event experiences. The Summit returns with support from its key sponsors Colliers, JLL, Land Sterling, LWK + Partners and Regus.
Registration for Cityscape Global, the live and in person exhibition that takes place from 9-11 November at DEC, is now open. For more information, visit: www.cityscapeglobal.com