From your point of view, what are the main challenges for the placemaking industry in 2024?
What offers and experiences should replace vacant replace space? And in doing so how will that change ‘the centre of gravity’ of the asset?
What opportunities and trends do you see?
There are great opportunities if we kick the addiction to transactional retail. The opportunities will come if we develop strategies to change the rhythm of our assets, from a ‘shopping rhythm’ to a ‘community rhythm’. We must develop strategies to introduce healthcare, co-working, hospitality, culture, maker spaces, community services, amenities and other future offers. But the critical question is, how do we synergize and blur these with retail, gastronomy and entertainment?
In your view, are there fundamental and lasting changes that await the placemaking industry?
Many brands will increasingly occupy physical space not as a transaction and distribution channel, but as a media platform and community space. And if we develop strategies to accommodate such brands, this will open up long term opportunities with brands and businesses that have never before considered physical space for media or community.
Your recommendations/wishes for the industry and market participants.
To respond to the thoughts and ideas above (and many others that we can discuss). And we must shift the culture of the industry. We need a ‘people revolution’! With new skills in the industry. For example, curators, data scientists, social media strategists, storytellers, media specialists, stage managers, influencers, ethnographers, content creators, editors, program managers, event organizers, etc. And the industry needs to better reflect the majority of our audience… Women!
Ibrahim Ibrahim is Managing Director of Portland Design, and Member of the ACROSS Advisory Board.