‘Tomorrow’s winning cities will be multifunctional’
The successful cities of the future will be multi-functional, delegates heard at the ‘Winning Cities and City Quarters, mixed-use and urban opportunities’ briefing, which was held at RealX Global, the virtual trade fair organised by Real Asset Media.
‘The real estate sector has a key role to play in providing the right assets in line with regulations and consumer or tenant expectations’, said Thierry Laroue-Pont, CEO, BNP Paribas Real Estate. ‘It is a fascinating challenge for our industry’.
Infrastructure, jobs and accommodation will be the key drivers.
‘Single-use zoning is a dead concept: the cities of the future will be multifunctional, combining offices, residential, retail and logistics’, he said. ‘All daily urban necessities will be within a 15-minute walk or cycle ride’.
The ‘smart cities’ of the future will be built on six pillars: smart mobility, including transport and technology; smart environment, protecting natural resources; smart economy, with a focus on competitiveness; smart people, taking care of the social and human capital; smart living, with quality of life at the forefront; and smart governance, which means inclusiveness and participation.
There are various examples of mixed-use urban planning and ‘smarter space management’ in Europe.
‘In Antwerp where the port was progressively abandoned they came up with a masterplan and have been building a more flexible, sustainable and resilient city’, said Laroue-Pont. ‘It’s a really good example of regeneration and it has become a great tourist destination, with museums and green spaces but also offices’.
Another example is Madrid’s €7 billion Nuevo Norte project, an area in the northern part of the Spanish capital that is the largest urban regeneration project in Europe, on an area of 230 hectares with 1.6 million m2 of offices, plus resi and retail.
‘What’s needed is an integrated holistic approach,’ said Nils Hübener, Chief Investment Officer, Corestate Capital Group. ‘We have a pipeline of 200 projects in Germany that can be characterised as city quarters which are an attractive long-term investment because people want that integration, the ESG-conscious approach and the 15-minute walk everywhere’.
Integration means combining residential, offices, retail and logistics in the same area and sometimes in the same building.
‘We call it mixed-use 2.0’, said Lisette van Doorn, CEO, ULI Europe. ‘It is mix of uses within the same building, allowing for more flexibility. The pandemic has taught us to be more flexible and ready to repurpose buildings so now we are re-inventing the concept of a winning city’.
Integration also means combining people of different ages in the same district and catering for all needs.
‘The cities that attract young people will be the ones that succeed, but they will have all generations together and amenities for all,’ said Thierry Laroue-Pont, CEO, BNP Paribas Real Estate. ‘Integration is the only way forward in order to create places where people want to be’.
An example of a new-concept city quarter is the Cherrywood project South of Dublin, a new neighbourhood over 160 hectares of land that will combine a vast office park, retail, thousands of apartments and many green spaces. ‘It will be a 15-minute city, where everything is close’, said Brian Moran, Senior Managing Director Ireland, Hines. ‘It is essential to combine private and public and to deliver affordability in order to attract a young workforce’.
Another example is Corestate’s new mixed-use city district in Nuremberg, a city of 500,000 people that consistently features in the top 20 global quality of life rankings, with a vibrant tech and R&D sector and a good university.
Winning cities can be big and small, as Germany shows. The country’s polycentric structure is a real asset, Hübener said: ‘There are the top 7 everyone knows but also a strong network of 2nd and 3rd tier cities which are well-connected, have a strong economy and a vibrant culture’.