Latest News | 14 July 2023

Derby Property Summit: Curation is the key to shaping our cities

Derby City Council
University of Derby
Wavensmere Homes
Reach Events
AJS Structural Design
Willmott Dixon
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Collaboration will be vital in shaping our cities going forward – that was the key message that came out of this year’s Derby Property Summit.

Held this week at Reach Events, on Pride Park, a capacity audience of more than 250 people, including business leaders, key decision-makers and investors from across the region and beyond, heard from respected keynote speakers and panellists who shared their views on how we can shape the future of our cities.

Entitled ‘From Customer to Citizen – The Collective Curation of Cities’, the summit also gave attendees an insight into Derby’s major city centre developments and investment pipeline.

Councillor Baggy Shanker, leader of Derby City Council, who was one of the keynote speakers, said: “We have heard how many cities face similar challenges to Derby. The solutions lie in creating innovative collaborations.

“The city centre is our priority and I believe that working with you, the people in this packed room, we can deliver the radical transformation we all desire.”

Speaking at the summit, John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, said: “You can’t leave the market to design cities – there must be collaborations.”

The Derby Property Summit was organised by Marketing Derby, the Queen’s Award-winning investment promotion agency, and was backed by main event partner Bowmer + Kirkland, along with brand partners AJS Structural Design, Faithful + Gould, Lovell and Willmott Dixon.

This year’s event, which was once again hosted by BBC and LBC business journalist Declan Curry, opened with a welcome from Mr Forkin, who explored Derby’s economic performance and how this translated into spend and footfall in the city centre.

He said: “In terms of disposable income, Derby punches well above its weight – something which gives investors confidence and clarity.

“However, the inequality that exists in the city is unacceptable – and inward investment has to be used as a tool for social mobility.”

National perspectives were then offered by the summit’s keynote speakers, beginning with Professor Yolande Barnes, chair of the The Bartlett Real Estate Institute, which is based at University College London (UCL).

Part of The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, it is a global institute that is rethinking the traditional view of real estate.

Professor Barnes gave her thoughts on the future of our city centres – which she believes will see an increase in multi-use buildings.

She was followed by Melanie Leech CBE, chief executive of the British Property Federation, which represents UK companies involved in property ownership and investment, who talked about how her organisation is working with government to boost city centres.

And Robbie Jones, insights director at Derby-based themed attractions designer Katapult talked about how the thinking from his industry could be applied to enhancing the city visitor experience.

And finally, in his major public speech since becoming leader of the city council, Councillor Shanker took to the stage to set out his goals for the city over his next four years in office.

As well as the speakers, there was also a panel debate featuring Paul Simpson, the city council’s chief executive, who was joined by Alex Hudson, market senior partner for PwC East Midlands, Tom Ketteringham, chief of staff at the Great British Railways Transition Team and Donna Smith, sales director at Wavensmere Homes.

Property summit delegates were also wowed by an exhibition by architecture students from the University of Derby, which featured visions for the North Riverside area of the city.

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