…the question remains: Is it really the dawning sunlight or the lights of the oncoming train? One crisis follows another one, the world is getting more and more difficult and complex, but we are improving. Meanwhile, we are used to the occurrence of different situations and may handle and manage it better… at least some of us. The placemaking industry has a big chance to recover.
Social life and communities have been missed during Covid times. The willingness to meet people is huge, therefore the placemaking industry must produce a “reason why” their place will be the best place for coming together. The range of reasons for this has evolved: from a marketplace, where people had purely done their shopping, to a place to work, eat, play, live, entertain, educate and so much more regarding human interaction.
This human engagement and interaction, well-organized and supported with a kind of surprise and wow-effect will be the key to success for the placemaking industry. By the way: This very individual mix of usages has been practiced over millenniums. The Greek agora, the Roman Colosseum, or the medieval marketplaces with their rules and regulations have always combined life-work-commercial-social-entertainment in one place!
The placemaking industry must reconsider this and try to adapt it to the current requests of the customers. From the real estate perspective, it will be a big challenge for the stakeholders to understand that we have left “peak times”. It is obvious to consider necessary changes and to make them happen. The consequence will be investments, and the exercise is to avoid them being “defensive”, but rather “active” which is then followed by an amortization, better known as profitability. In times of higher costs, difficult supply chains, and tougher requests from the investor markets, there is a huge load of creativity, forcing innovations and experienced management skills necessary.
My personal commendations for our industry: Let’s grab the chance to change “current locations” into “places for the people”. Let’s be open to making difficult and tough decisions, as it will be much better to secure a long-term future than to remain on a short-term “concerned approach”.
Read more about expert opinions in our Online Special: “Industry Outlook 2023”.