Urban Land Institute Tackle The Big Issues At Industry Summit

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Asia Pacific Summit took place in Singapore this month, where industry professionals came together to discuss innovative ideas and best practices for development in the Asia region.

The ULI Asia Pacific Summit brought together over 600 decision makers from all sectors including institutional investors, funders, developers, advisers, planners, architects and city leaders.

Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, who was a keynote speaker at the event, brought to the event the idea that Singapore is the one to play a major role as an infrastructure hub for Southeast Asia or even the broader Asia region.

Minister Wong said that to help meet Asia’s huge infrastructure development needs, Singapore could assist other countries in the region in developing long-term urban master plans and implement infrastructure projects.

He also argued that master developers should focus on the long term because of the larger plots of land that they work on, and highlighted how master developers in other parts of the world did not just look at maximising land use but also considered social needs.

Other highlights included a presentation by futurist and international keynote speaker Vivek Wadhwa, who during his talk on the impact of technology argued that as technology gets smarter and cheaper, “if you understand disruption you own the future”.

The summit also hosted a panel discussing The Meteoric Rise of India, and outlined a number of emerging opportunities in many of India’s property sectors which are now in the early stages of development.

RMZ Group Chairman Raj Menda said legislative reform lowered risk and made India more attractive, citing affordable housing as an area with huge potential due to overwhelming demand.

AECOM President Sean Chiao also spoke at the summit with a talk entitled The Impact of Smart Cities, and argued that smart cities need government and private sectors to work together in a panel that also featured Housing and Development Board CEO Dr. Cheong Koon Hean.

A panel discussing The Future of Workspace and the Sharing Economy argued that landlords need to think about real estate as a service if they are to capitalise on new ways of working.

During a discussion which covered co-working, community and how to attract ‘innovation occupiers’, the panel said office landlords could learn lessons from the hospitality and retail industry.

Naked Group Chairman Delphine Yap-Horsfield stressed the importance of shared space both as an amenity for member interaction and as a revenue provider through events, which she described as a “secret sauce”. Colliers International’s Duncan White, meanwhile, said landlords needed to consider a “concierge model” to improve the staff experience in their buildings.

ULI said their best ideas and biggest impacts have always come from their members, and said through the summit they were able to “share collective knowledge, examine opportunities facing the industry and solutions in building better cities across the world”.

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