January saw the sold out Winter Drinks event, held at the 30th floor of the Heron Tower, where speakers Robert Tavernor, Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the London School of Economics and Malcolm Kerr, founding partner of planning consultancy, DP9 shared their insights on the transformation of London’s skyline and the future of London’s built environment. A senior member breakfast with Vincent Lo, founder and chairman, Shui On Group was held in February and in March, a roundtable looking at Business-friendly and investment-friendly citieswas held. This event focused on the strategies cities should adopt to encourage business and investment, particularly in light of the hot and topical issue of political devolution within the UK.
In April, a global webinar was held on Housing and Sustainability: A view from two continents that examined various challenges and evolving technologies in the US and UK, including Passivhaus. And as the UK prepared to go the polls, we held the General Election Briefing: Implications for UK property, at which Nick Keable, Chief Executive of Development Intelligence, looked at issues such as localism and the NPPF, the impact of the Scottish Referendum, the rise of UKIP and what the future holds for the Eurozone. Then in May the 2015 Annual Members’ Meeting was held and was without a doubt one of the highlights of the year! Involving Ed Glaeser and Martin Wolf, two eminent experts in economics, politics and the urban environment, who went head-to-head in a scintillating, live-wire debate on the issues of urbanisation and density.
June saw the Joint Council Study Tour in Hamburg, the annual Europe Real Estate Trends Conference, and an event focused on the Untapped Potential of Public Commercial Assets’, in addition to publishing the Kings Cross case study report, which led to July and the Healthy Places Roundtable, hosted by Cushman & Wakefield at the Battersea Power Station marketing suite. The lively and engaging discussion covered the role of urban land and buildings in providing favourable environments for public and social health, with particularly interesting input on the real estate industry could impact the obesity crisis from Professor Harry Rutter of the London School of Hygiene and Medicine. The end cap to the Summer was the summer drinks event Behind the scenes of the London Olympic Park, which provided a fascinating retrospective viewpoint, two years on from London 2012, of the challenges and progress that took place both prior to the Games and in the time since, and showcased the superb public space and facilities that are a result of determined legacy planning.
Finally, as the end of a busy year came to a close, ULI UK featured at the RESI 2015 conference and MIPIM UK, as well as holding a joint event with the Society of Property Researchers (SPR) called Global Cities: Identifying investment opportunities beyond safe haven markets that was hosted by Nabarro. Our next event was an introduction and site tour of Bootstrap Company (one of London’s leading social enterprise), a highly admirable organisation that provides nurturing and low cost space to fledgling social, charitable and startup businesses from the local area.
2016: A FLAVOUR OF WHAT’S TO COME
If you missed out on some of the above, or are not yet a member of ULI, fear not as we will be doing everything possible to make 2016 even better! In January ULI will return with annual events such as the ULI/PwC Emerging Trends and the Winter Drinks to be hosted by Hammerson at Kings Place and focusing on The Croydon Revival – why Croydon? Why now? There will be a site tour and presentation by LandSec on the Regeneration of Victoria in February that includes a look at the 2.2m sq ft of office, retail and resi development the firm is undertaking in the area. We will also be launching the ULI Series initiative, which aims to create clusters of two to four events that are linked by a common theme. Currently, we are working on Revolution in the Workplaceand Urban Wellbeing for the first two themes to be covered and are seeking major sponsors. In May there will be the ULI UK Annual Conference to be hosted by Goldman Sachs. And of course, we will have a swathe of other events, discussions and roundtables that aim to address the key trends, issues and developments within the urban environment and real estate sector.