Over 350 senior-level delegates from the property sector attended the annual Derby Property Summit in July to hear a line-up of national and international speakers and panellists discuss the challenge of re-imagining towns and cities.
Opening the Summit John Forkin, Managing Director at Marketing Derby, said "The way communities use their high streets is changing and towns and cities need to work out how to continue to evolve. The purpose of place is to create a customer - we have to change the mix to make our cities and towns attractive places in which to live and work and to visit."
Keynote speaker was Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive at the Association of Town and City Management, who spoke about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the way technology is disrupting the high street, which in his view we were underestimating.
He said "Technological change is accelerating and it's not as simple as a pre-internet and post-internet world. If only it were as simple as the high street adapting to online - we're still under-estimating the changes that are going to happen".
Ojay spoke about the impact of social media influencers and that "we simply don't know enough about their potential"; how technology is facilitating the sharing economy concept (e.g. airbnb, car sharing clubs, shared wardrobes), with Norwich the first designated "sharing city" in the UK, and how this is also impacting the high street; and, that the next big thing will be the demise of using cash.
He concluded that this would impact on the way we use property in the future, but that the spaces in between buildings are just as important. "Partnership, partnership, partnership is crucial" he said in places understanding and adapting to the changes needed.