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How can the real estate industry be a force for social good?

Tom Gellatly | 03.10.19

A week ago we brought together key players from across the real estate industry to answer the question ‘how can real estate be a force for social good?’. The event was kindly sponsored by LaSalle Investment Management and hosted by the Office of Government Property in the Churchill Rooms. Thank you to both for your? support.

We were joined on the panel by experts from across the industry:

Tor Burrows, Director of Placemaking, Grosvenor Britain and Ireland
Edward Dean, Director of Sustainability, LandSec
Melanie Leech, Chief Executive, British Property Federation
Andy Martin, Chief Executive, BNP Paribas Real Estate
Janet Young, Government Chief Property Officer at the Cabinet Office

The discussion was both lively and informative on this broad topic, with some major themes around how people, purpose and inclusivity are increasingly important to the real estate community, and how much more we can achieve together.

We hope to draw out some of these themes through further discussions over the coming months.

Thanks to our panellists, whose insights you can find below:

Tor Burrows, Director of Placemaking, Grosvenor Britain and Ireland, said: “The infrastructure and amenities that allow communities to thrive, space for new jobs, homes, schools and parks, are often judged in a poor-quality debate about development. Today, the public simply doesn’t trust our industry or councils to act in their best interests. This is partly the result of a failure of leadership. Like many, we have failed to tell our story clearly, or to describe how our work is valuable to the environment and society. To rebuild trust we need to open ourselves up more to public opinion. We must also act to grow the quality of the conversation about development and to better articulate the benefits of investment, alongside the link between private profit and social gain.”

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said: ‘As a Trustee I am delighted that LandAid have taken the initiative to challenge the industry to deliver greater social value. That fully resonates with the British Property Federation’s campaign to Redefine Real Estate and last night’s event demonstrated that it resonates with many working in our industry too. Both the BPF and LandAid will be working to harness that energy so that our industry can create greater value in sustainable communities up and down the country.’

Janet Young, Government Chief Property Officer at the Cabinet Office, said:  "It was great to see so many people from across the industry attending this event in support of LandAid, to discuss such an important issue. As Government Chief Property Officer, I'm responsible for ensuring our estate truly works for everyone - a public estate for public benefit. But it was also encouraging to hear how social benefit is increasing in importance in the private sector - and I look forward to seeing this develop in the coming years."