REALX: Holistic approach needed for future city quarters

(Top L to R) Thierry Laroue-Pont, Lisette van Doorn, Nils Hübener,
(Bottom) Brian Moran, Richard Betts

City Quarters with mixed-use assets and a focus on ESG will determine the success of European cities in the future, experts agreed 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.

‘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.

Winning city concept is being reinvented

‘We call it mixed-use 2.0’, said Lisette van Doorn, CEO, ULI Europe. ‘It is a 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’.

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 seven 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’.