During the London Real Estate Forum 2021, we hosted a number of in-depth roundtable discussions, which covered a range of issues facing the built environment sector. Each session brought together a group of experts and professionals with the aim of discussing key challenges and creating actionable solutions to be shared with the industry.

The roundtables were closed room discussions and could be attended by invite only, however a write-up of the key insights from each session was made available in the post-event report.

Wednesday 29 September

Room 1 Room 2
11:15 -
Encouraging urban biodiversity
The past year has stressed the importance of access to green spaces and nature for our mental health and wellbeing, yet these spaces also provide havens in the city for urban wildlife and insects. With the GLA introducing new guidance in regards to urban greening, how can we ensure that built environment professionals are equipped to encourage urban biodiversity within every project? The urgences of the climate crisis means this is more important than ever, so how can we guarantee biodiversity is a top priority within the ongoing pandemic response and recovery? At the same time, what needs to be done to ensure biodiversity forms part of the holistic sustainability strategy that addresses the complexity and urgency of the crisis we’re facing.

Beyond the office
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are looking ahead to consider what returning to office will looking like. With more flexibility as to where and when we work, what long-term effects will this have on the capital. The mix of culture, commerce, and work will now have a more powerful influence on attracting people back to the office than ever before. What challenges do the traditional workplace districts face, and what new opportunities have been created across London?
13:45 -
Delivering for future needs in healthcare
In association with JLL
With an increasing ageing population, it is vital that we priorities delivering for future needs in healthcare. This roundtable discussion will bring together professional from across the built environment industry to question how we can design care systems and infrastructure that enables us all to age healthily. What long-term trends will shape the future of healthcare and how can we ensure current developments are suitable for later living?
Sustaining infrastructure investment
In association with South Westminster Business BID
Is investment in major infrastructure projects in London is more important than ever? Investment in infrastructure is viewed as one way to recover from an economic crisis, helping to boost jobs and regenerate local areas. As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, and in the context of the Government’s levelling up agenda, what does this mean for London? This roundtable, sponsored by the South Westminster Business Alliance, seeks to identify potential barriers and opportunities, and develop new ideas to ensure growth and infrastructure investment in the UK’s only global city can continue. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is already transforming large parts of central London, including the major enhancement of Strand / Aldwych, and this could be a model for further projects.
15:30 -
Accelerating investment into net zero cities
In association with City of London, Green Finance Institute and Connected Places Catapult
Considerable investment is required to catalyse the transition of the global economy towards a more resilient future. Our built environment contributes over 40% of carbon emissions and has a direct impact on the social and economic mobility of those living and working in our major cities. This round table will bring civic leaders together government and international investors to identify opportunities to collaborate on key priority areas to channel capital including large-scale retrofit programmes to drive energy efficiency, green energy supply, investment in affordable housing and workspace, net zero construction and investment in climate resistant infrastructure and buildings.
NextGen and London’s new agenda
In association with Gardiner & Theobald
Synopsis to follow.

Thursday 30 September

Room 1 Room 2 Room 3
09:30 -

What does the West End need to succeed through recovery?
Bringing together experts and professionals from across the industry this roundtable discussion will look forward and question how we can attract workers and visitors back to Westminster post-pandemic. Learning lessons from the past year, it will discuss the vital role of public realm improvements and al fresco licensing in the West End, and consider the challenges and opportunities created through coordinating and funding major schemes, such as the Oxford Street District projects.
11:15 -
CORE Cities chief executives
Synopsis to follow.

Higher education
In association with Savills
Special guest Dr. Michael Spence AC, President & Provost of UCL, will kick-off the session by providing a brief overview of his experiences and the key challenges and opportunities that he sees for the sector. This will then be followed by an open discussion, chaired by Savills, exploring the challenges that universities are facing and how these can be overcome, sharing best practice examples as well as insights and learnings from other sectors.

Creating jobs, opportunities and developing local skills
One of the many lessons we have learnt from the Coronavirus pandemic is the importance of local decision making. However, with local authorities facing new challenges and adjusting to a shift in the political and economic landscape, how can we ensure they are equipped to provide the jobs, opportunities and skills needed? This roundtable will look to discuss what actions can be taken to ensure local policy enables our global city to continue to evolve and flourish.
13:45 -
Future industries
The north London tri-borough partnership of Enfield, Haringey and Waltham Forest are working hard to maximise opportunities in high-growth sectors for London’s strategic industrial cluster in the Upper Lea Valley. This is an economic powerhouse for London and the wider south east, hosting vital operations in innovative food and drink production, advanced manufacturing, world-class logistics and fulfilment, extensive film/tv studio complexes, and expanding hubs for makers, creatives and other entrepreneurs. The roundtable will bring together key representatives from these forward-looking industries in the three boroughs as well as thought leaders representing London’s commercial property world and innovation/creative ecosystem. The group will discuss the key challenges they are facing now before questioning how the growth industries of the future can be supported to thrive here.Above all, this is strategic industrial land of national significance and there is much to discuss in terms of industrial place-making, intensification, digital infrastructure capacity, and linking local talent with new and expanding employers across the three boroughs.
Arc market forum
In association with Bidwells
The Arc Market Forum is public and private sector think tank on the Oxford-Cambridge Arc. It brings together key stakeholders from the property industry with the government ministries tasked with delivering the Arc Vision. Conducted under Chatham House Rules, the Arc Market forum discusses government policy and strategic direction of the Arc, while providing on the ground feedback leading investors and developers operating across the region.
Delivering a fair recovery
In association with G15 Housing Associations
How can the housing and development sector ensure ‘build back better’ and ‘levelling-up’ are delivered in a way that supports a fair recovery for London’s communities? The pandemic has had a significant impact on London’s communities, how can we respond to these challenges against the backdrop of the government’s commitment to ‘build back better’ and focus on ‘levelling-up’, which present new pulls for resources and attention away from the capital? The housing and development sector has a unique connection to place and with communities, and social housing providers have played a key role in the response to the pandemic to support people in a time like no other. How do we use these roles, and our investment, to secure a future that both delivers a fair recovery for London’s communities, whilst meeting the government’s ambitions to rebalance the wider economy?
15:30 -
Enabling better partnerships to unlock investment
In association with British Property Federation and IPSX
The challenges in investing in our infrastructure, schools, hospitals and our high streets are too large and too big to be tackled on their own. There is a major investment requirement in sustainability upgrades to our built environment to get to net zero and in town centre adaption and repurposing, and we need to find more equitable ways of sharing value with our communities. This roundtable will question what ideas and innovation we need to unlock access to pools of private capital and discuss how we can work together to deliver at pace the investment into critical projects.
Diversity to Taking Action to change the Industry
A year on from the launch from NLA’s hard hitting diverse leaders pledge, what progress has been made and what issues still need to be addressed? Bringing together representatives from across the industry, this roundtable will look to assess what we’ve learnt over the past year and lay out the next steps for moving forward. What changes need to be made to enable the industry to attract a diverse talent pool that better reflects the communities we serve? How can we encourage more businesses in the industry to prioritise diversity with their organisation?
Healthy homes – designing for wellbeing
In association with Miele
As we are now spending more time in our homes, the impact our home environment has on both our physical and mental wellbeing is becoming ever more important. This roundtable discussion will bring together professionals from across the industry to question how innovations in design and technology will create help us create healthy homes for everyone. What challenges and opportunities do we face in trying to incorporate wellbeing into the design of our homes at every stage?