‘Asia is now the driver of modern workplaces and retail’

Luke Dawson, Managing Director & Head of Capital Markets CEE, Colliers International, Rachel Gutter, President, International WELL Building Institute, David Kaiser, Senior Director, Real Estate, WeWork, Jarek Morawski, Director, Research and Analysis, Grosvenor and Neil Livingstone, Managing Director, Spain, Colliers International discuss the factors that are enabling some Regions and Cities to pull ahead of others. Filmed at MIPIM 2019 by Real Asset Media

The demand for quality of life at work and at home, for environmentally friendly, positive buildings and environments is now a global phenomenon and is set to increase.

European investors tend to look to the US for clues as to what is ahead, but it might be worth looking East instead, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s Emerging Hotspots Investment Briefing, which was held at MIPIM.

‘I think that for the first time in 15 years we are lagging behind China rather than leading them,’ said Rachel Gutter, President, International WELL Building Institute. ‘Asians are now becoming the drivers of modern workplaces and modern retail’.

The US and Europe are closely linked now. ‘Global is the new local and trends in the US are quite similar now, when I compare the markets I see more similarities than differences in terms of design operations and investor motivations,’ she said. Where I see real differences is Asia and the technology is astounding’.

Technology and highly sophisticated data are being used to create fully integrated smart offices, stores and homes. Travelling around China, you can see office developments and shopping centres with green roofs and outdoor running tracks, showing a constant attempt to improve wellness and look after the environment.

The big new shift, which hasn’t come to Europe yet, is the attention to air quality.

‘Air quality is the new, ultimate luxury good in China,’ said Gutter.

People’s concern at the levels of pollution is such that a group of mothers in Bejing went to different shopping centres in the city with air quality sensors and then posted the results online.

‘It blew up on social media and the result was that the shopping mall with superior air quality is now full of mothers and children,’ she said. ‘The same goes for office buildings. I did not see a single office without an air quality sensor. This trend, this level of awareness, will come to the US and Europe too’.

Contact the editor here.