Record numbers flock to Cannes for MIPIM 2017

MIPIM 2017 has seen record numbers making the trip to the south of France for the construction and property sector’s annual jamboree. Patrick McNamara reports.

A record attendance of 23,000 are in Cannes this week for MIPIM 2017. Key movers and shakers in the property and construction sector have gathered to see over 70 large-scale projects announced across 23 countries.

Britain is always strongly represented at MIPIM and now even holds its own side-line event, MIPIM UK, in London every October. London has in previous years stolen the show at MIPIM, but regional authorities from around the UK are changing that this year. Manchester City Council, spearhead of the Northern Powerhouse, has relocated to its own pavilion with 113 partner organisations. But it is not just Manchester, 2017 has seen unparalleled investment from Cheshire, Coventry, Liverpool, Birmingham and Bolton to name a few.

MIPIM is no longer a hideaway for the private sector either. The public sector are becoming a mainstay, with local authorities increasingly using MIPIM as a platform for self-promotion. As well as the usual big announcements, like Liverpool’s new Masterplan for 2,500 homes at the former International Festival Gardens sites, smaller authorities are showcasing innovative approaches to solving their own housing crises.

Coventry and Warwickshire are leading this new approach to MIPIM. Alongside announcing several large regeneration projects, Coventry and Warwickshire are setting out their long term regeneration plans. This new focus is on promoting the place as much as their schemes, with partners like Warwick University highlighting their growing skills base.

Alongside the rise of regional authorities this year’s MIPIM other big headline is sustainable development. Key themes include “protecting the future” and “how smart are smart cities?” The aim is for innovative discussion about how the cities of the future can be shaped by sustainable methods, utilising new approaches and technologies to reimagine how we think of the city. Leeds climate innovation district is one such example which showcases 500 low carbon homes in the largest sustainable development in the UK. 

A record-breaking attendance, new investment from regional authorities and a renewed focus on sustainable development, make it an exciting time for the property industry at MIPIM 2017. The message from the UK is clear - post-Brexit Britain is open for business. Whether that includes Scotland or not, will have to wait until next MIPIM.

Patrick McNamara is a junior consultant, engagement, at Iceni Projects.