A New World of Cities: Redefining the Real Estate Investment Map, January 2012

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I’m heading off next week to participate in an exciting event – the Jones Lang LaSalle Academy.  For this meeting, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) key business leaders, brokers and sales professionals from across the Americas and several other nations will come together to align strategy, celebrate achievements and rev up the sales engine for the year to come. Schneider Electric will be participating for the first time in their “Green Zone,” an educational area focusing on energy and sustainability programs or services that could benefit JLL clients (and our clients too – of course!).

I am looking forward to sharing our experience and capabilities in the high performance green buildings space – and making sure to differentiate high performance and green – because green alone is not a guarantee of high performance (or vice versa).   But equally, if not more so, I am looking forward to hearing from the feet on the street at JLL – to understand what they are hearing from their (and our!) customers with regard to “green”, sustainability and smart – including the emergence of initiatives aimed at revitalizing or reinventing & building smarter, greener cities.

In preparation for this event, I’ve discovered a plethora of good information from the Jones Lang LaSalle website – including this really interesting, fact-filled and concise research on “A New World of Cities”.  If you are interested in learning a bit more about the impact of global urban growth as it relates to the real estate market – this is a great start!  Here are the 5 trends covered in this research report:

1. 50 percent of global commercial real estate investment is still concentrated in only 30 highorder cities with large concentrations of internationally-focused, high-value business activities
2. But, this will be the ‘decade of change’ as investors widen their horizons
3. U.S. cities will continue to hold considerable real estate weight
4. China’s cities offer massive potential as they are transformed by unprecedented city building
5. The future success of European cities will be determined by innovation and reinvention

Montmartre street
Montmartre street

Also interesting in this report: 300 cities account for 40 percent of Global GDP, and thirty cities account for half the world’s total real estate investment volumes (2008-2011).  The top five cities alone  – London, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong and Paris  – are responsible for nearly one-quarter of volumes.  However, the outlook is that the top 30 will extend out to a top 50 cities – for a number of reasons – a decade of change…  Source: Jones Lang LaSalle

What does that mean to us at Schneider Electric? And to all of us, at some “meta-level”? Well, this continued growth in cities (and reinvention in mature cities) coincides with significant regional regulatory drivers toward “net zero” buildings, in a world where the demand on energy will double by 2050, while we work to cut our CO2 emissions in half…   A significant challenge, and an opportunity for innovation and collaboration.  Certainly, cities will be a vital playground for that innovation, and we will need to partner with progressive companies and public sector leaders to enable sustainable urban growth that addresses these challenges.  And it all starts with smart people and thoughtful conversations; see you in “the Green Zone”….

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