Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash
What’s in the itinerary for REiiF 2023?
The agenda at UKREiiF this year is nothing if not thorough. With three jam-packed days there’s plenty to pique your interest. What struck us was that by far the biggest thematic focus is on addressing climate change. Though, of course, even those events that aren’t overtly badged in this way still need to view problem solving through the lens of our escalating environmental crisis.
Beyond that, we’re encouraged to see REiiF giving significant airtime to the younger generation, markedly setting it apart from MIPIM, and to sessions focused on the implementation of the ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is how to attract the next generation of passionate and forward-thinking professionals into the built environment.
Of course, to level up, to unlock housing and infrastructure delivery, to tackle our environmental crisis, we need stability, ambitious national leadership and investment in the planning system to achieve the right kind of ‘green’ growth.
An opportunity for leaders to lead
The recent Levelling Up select committee came and went without any indication that the government is ready to make bold decisions to support growth and deliver the housing that the country needs.
Across the property sector there is a real sense of uncertainty about the current state of the planning system which is impacting on delivery on the ground. We’ve witnessed near constant policy changes (see our thoughts on the proposed NPPF changes), a watering down of how authorities should calculate housing requirement and a distinct reversal on the previous ‘growth’ mantra. Appointing six different housing ministers in the past 12 months (and 15 since 2010) reveals just what priority the government is giving planning and housing delivery.
In the context of wider political upheaval, a cost-of-living crisis like nothing we’ve seen since the 1970s and a burgeoning climate catastrophe that escalates at new and alarming rates, we really need industry experts and leaders to come together to make things happen.
UKREiiF is an important forum which will bring together industry experts and political leaders.
We need proactivity and a clear focus
With so many companies and leaders due to be present in the same space, it’s crucial we take the opportunity that UKREiiF presents. Two heads are better than one, as the saying goes, and the industry certainly has some big problems that need lateral thinking.
But we can’t assume that conferences like this will automatically make a difference: in light of the global environmental crisis, we’ll need to be proactive and clear minded on how we’re going to solve what we need to achieve.
Growth is key to solving the industry’s big problems
Global economic growth needn’t – indeed, mustn’t – look like it did a decade ago. Growth will need to be framed in the context of climate change and every decision must carefully consider environmental impact and not forge ahead thoughtlessly. But nevertheless, growth is key.
What has global economics got to do with UKREiiF?
It’s at gatherings like this where decision makers and people of influence step away from the day-to-day and put their heads together to answer difficult questions and find real solutions to our current global environmental crisis. Solutions that the UK could lead the way globally with.
No time to be complacent
The UK is still seen as an advanced country and global leader, for now.
And it’s encouraging to see that the overwhelming theme in the REiiF 2023 programme is how to tackle climate change. Now we need the ministers in the room to put down their handbook of evasive answers, ditch the linguistic acrobatics and be open to the debate. They’ll need to listen seriously and commit to action in their positions of influence.
We can’t be complacent, especially when the environment is at stake. So let’s capitalise on opportunities and have conversations at UKREiiF that are worthwhile and transformative.