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Smart cities need a digital footprint

Maria Francesca Silva, Chief of Real Estate Development, Genova High Tech SpA, Harry Hoodless, Regional Board Director, Broadway Malyan, Ruben Sacerdoti, Director of the Regional Department for Business Internationalisation and FDI Attraction, Emilia-Romagna Regional Government, Leanne Tritton, Managing Director, ING Media and Thomas Beyerle, Managing Director, Catella Property Valuation GmbH discuss the importance of Innovation in driving he Urban Developments of the future. Filmed at MIPIM 2019 by Real Asset Media.

Innovative cities need to advertise their achievements and let people know what they are doing, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s ‘Innovation – driving urban development’ Investment Briefing, which was held at MIPIM recently.

‘Cities need to have a digital footprint that matches their ambition,’ said Leanne Tritton, Managing Director, ING Media ‘We look at how a city’s brands and projects are received and assessed. If there is an investment story, is it being reported? Are people aware of what is happening?’  

It is a branding as well as a communication exercise: ‘In order to be successful in the future, cities must manage their brand. That’s the way forward,’ she said.

‘A branded urban identity has huge value’, said Harry Hoodless, Regional Board Director, Broadway Malyan. ‘It must capture the feel of the place, show it is unique, help to differentiate the city from the many clone towns that are out there’. 

ING Media has taken the top 40 European cities in the investment rankings, rated them and matched them to their digital profile. What they have found is that some of the most-invested cities have a low profile, while others like Lyon punch far above their weight. 

‘A digital footprint is not just a presence on social media, it is a complex area that checks how often the city and its events come up on news, chats and cultural information on all digital platforms,’ said Tritton. ‘Digital communication helps even smaller cities leap up the ranking systems and achieve visibility’.

Companies that are looking for a place to put their new headquarters or regional office want to choose well but the commentary is really disparate, she said, so they will look at the rankings and assess the digital footprint before making a decision.

Investors are doing a lot of research now before committing to a place. 

‘I see a change in investors’ behaviour, they have a more long-term view of a city and look ahead to the next 20 or 30 years,’ said Thomas Beyerle, Managing Director, Catella Property Valuation. ‘They look beyond the shiny new buildings and dig deeper to discover the DNA of a city, how it works, what sense of community there is and what connectivity it has’.

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