MIPIM reaction by Michael Barker
I was looking forward to attending MIPIM this year, after all it’s the first major in person property event since the beginning of the pandemic. I was not disappointed. It was good to get back to networking with people face-to-face and the positive buzz and upbeat conversations were exactly what I was hoping for. MIPIM doesn’t just hand you projects on a plate (well, not very often), but it is the perfect setting for raising the SGP flag, networking and reinforcing the relationships that are so vital to our business. It wasn’t perhaps as well attended as previous years but still brought together over 20,000 built environment professionals in a (relatively!) small space and attracted a diverse selection of organisations – from local authorities, contractors and developers to framework providers, housing associations and software companies. And everyone – and this is what struck me so very strongly – everyone was willing to talk, very openly and on a huge range of topics.
I had a very full three days, pulled between meetings, debates and some excellent talks by a range of organisations and businesses.
Several topics were repeatedly discussed:
- Home / hybrid working
- Net zero carbon (several local authorities gave talks on how they are delivering it)
- Levelling up – where is the government money going?
I particularly noticed the number of new or improved software programmes that were being promoted, all very much focused on helping move design forward. A programme that maps cities in 3D particularly caught my eye and I can just see us positioning our own 3D models in any given city scape.
The multi-national nature of MIPIM was still to the fore, with many pavilions and stalls from various agencies and countries – including, poignantly, one for the Ukraine with bright, positive visuals of new apartment blocks which contrasted so heart-breakingly with the pictures in the news. Although the Ukrainian delegation was drastically reduced because of the invasion, their message was still clear – we are still here, keep doing business with us.
The DTI pavilion had space for third parties to present talks and discussions and was where I attended an optimistic talk on the 3 Cities Retrofit Initiative. This is an ambitious programme to advance the West Midlands’ net zero ambitions by targeting more than 165,000 social homes across the cities of Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, for improvements in energy efficiency, green energy generation and green heating.
So, what was the most important thing I learnt at MIPIM this year? If the person you are looking for is with an organisation who has a stand, that person will never be on the stand when you go there.