March 1, 2016
“Smart Cities” are emerging as a major force in China. According to a recent CoreNet Global report, China’s urban population surpassed that of the rural population in 2011 and it is estimated that by 2035 there will be more than 70 percent of the population living in urban areas. That urbanisation is creating more pressure for China to leverage digital technology to create smarter cities, which are defined as metro areas that leverage digital technology and intelligent design to facilitate sustainability, along with high-quality living and high-paying jobs. Initially, there were several ‘beachhead’ cities that embraced Smart City initiatives such as Hangzhou (above), Chongqing and Chengdu. Subsequently, the China Central Government issued clear guidelines to roll out smart cities in a systematic and more widespread way. While smart cities are definitely on the long-term agenda for China’s strategic planning, their impact on corporate real estate and site location decisions remains to be determined.
March 1, 2016
Last week we reported that the shortage of office space in London was driving up demand within the UK’s regional office markets. Now a new report claims there is under a year’s supply of Grade A space available in the regions which will result in rental inflation. Bristol and Cardiff are predicted to see largest rises at 12 percent and 9 percent respectively. According to Savills’ Regional Office Market Review & Outlook report, average take-up across the UK is currently at 4.6 million sq ft, and availability down 18 percent on 2007 levels. Although speculative development has risen by 129 percent over the last year to approximately 3.5 million sq ft, with 28 percent pre-let it is expected that this will largely be absorbed in first two quarters of 2016. This lack of available space has driven demand for value-add office opportunities to help plug the gap, with January 2016 marking the forty-first consecutive month of refurbishment activity.
February 11, 2016
Manchester could completely run out of ready to occupy, Grade A office space this year, according to a new report from Colliers International. The snapshot of the commercial property market in the city claims that take-up of space in Manchester during 2015 was over a third (37.5 percent) above a ten year average and the rate of occupation by both UK and overseas firms was double that of the previous three years. As a consequence, the local property market is currently unable to keep pace with demand and the availability of Grade A space declined by 61 percent during the year to reach its lowest level since 2006. There is now just 216,000sq ft of Grade A stock available to let in Central Manchester, with major new developments in the key Spinningfields district (above) and elsewhere not expected to complete until later this year and into 2018. Even some of these spaces are already let, according to the study.
February 4, 2016
The UK’s largest regional cities have produced twice as many startups as London over the last two years, according to research based on Companies House Data. The report, commissioned by office broker Instant Offices, compares the number of startups in each city to create a list of the country’s most entrepreneurial cities. The authors claim that the UK is now Europe’s most entrepreneurial country with over 2,644,100 businesses started within the last two years alone, according to data gathered from Companies House. The report cites the example of Liverpool with an estimated population of 440,000 and 57,323 new companies starting over the past 2 years. This results in an entrepreneurial population percentage of 16 percent. Birmingham’s entrepreneurial population percentage was 14.5 percent followed closely by Manchester at 14 percent. These numbers are significantly higher than the UK average of 2 percent and London’s 7.5 percent.
January 21, 2016
The automated world is far closer than many people suppose. Yet one demographic group that is less fooled than others on that particular score is the one now starting to make its mark in the workforce, suggests a new report. Amplifying Human Potential: Education and Skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, commissioned by Infosys from researchers Future Foundation, claims that 42 percent of 16-25 year olds worldwide feel their education did not prepare them for the world of work they are encountering for the first time with over three quarters having to learn new skills to meet the demands of employers. The report also claims that 40 percent of young workers believe their current job could be replaced by automated systems including robotics within 10 years. The report lands in parallel with a cluster of stories which highlight just how quickly the world is moving towards an automated future.
January 20, 2016
According to a new report from Navigant Research, the total number of identified smart city projects worldwide has grown from 170 in the third quarter of 2013 to 235 today. The report examines the current state of global smart city development, covering the related aspects of the smart energy, smart water, smart transportation, smart buildings, and smart governments sectors, segmented by region. The authors of the report claim that, as the benefits of smart cities become clearer, the number of projects and partnerships supporting the cause is rapidly increasing. In the last few years, city leaders, central government ministries, and technology and service suppliers have announced a range of new smart city initiatives, incentives, and product and service offerings, while more cities are moving from one specific technology interest to a broader range of solutions that have multiple applications.
January 20, 2016
The UK’s regional commercial property market has continued to improve on last year’s record levels of occupational take-up, with 9.6 million sq ft transacted in the Big Nine city centre and out-of-town markets during 2015, 20 percent above the five year average. According to Bilfinger GVA’s quarterly review of the regional office occupier markets this is the fourth consecutive annual increase in take-up and compares to an average of 6.6 million sq ft during the downturn years of 2009 to 2012. Take-up over the year was well above average in Birmingham and Manchester in both the city centre and out-of-town markets. Other markets where activity was well above average include Cardiff and Leeds city centres and the suburbs of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Fourth quarter take-up was dominated by above average activity in most city centres and a number of large deals in Edinburgh out-of-town.
January 19, 2016
Highly-skilled migrants are increasingly attracted to cities and regions rather than countries, the latest Global Talent Competitiveness Index has revealed. Silicon Valley, Dublin, Helsinki-Espoo, Dubai [pictured] and London are the real hubs, rather than the United States, Ireland, Finland, the United Arab Emirates or the United Kingdom. The index, produced by Adecco Group, INSEAD and the Human Capital Leadership Institute, ranks the factors driving the international movement of skilled migrants of 109 countries, covering 87 percent of the global population and 97 percent of global GDP. Switzerland is in top place, followed by Singapore and Luxembourg in second and third place. At seventh place, the UK is ahead of Germany and France, but behind top performers such as the United States and Canada. It also trails behind in terms of gender diversity; ranking 56th for female graduates and 71st for the gender earnings gap.
January 11, 2016
Birmingham’s development upturn looks set to continue this year, as the latest Deloitte Birmingham Crane Survey shows office construction at the highest level for 13 years. The report also showcases the significant increase in hotel, leisure and retail developments in the city, reflecting both the rise in investor interest in regional cities and the year-on-year growth of visitor numbers attracted to the UK’s second city. The report, first launched by the Deloitte Real Estate team in the Midlands in 2000, shows 969,000 sq ft of office space under construction, with hotel construction three times higher than the 10 year average. Office take-up has shown a particular resurgence. Q1 to Q3 of 2015 reached 732,000 sq ft, its highest level since 2008. The Colmore Row district remains very attractive to investors, whilst more peripheral locations have become more established and are generating serious interest.
November 26, 2015
Ahead of COP21 next week, a new report ‘Climate Action in Megacities 3.0’, published by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and research partner Arup states that since COP15 cities have taken the lead in climate action by forging a collaborative pathway to low carbon and climate resilient development. Mayors have scaled-up action- with 51 percent of schemes now delivered city-wide, as opposed to 14 percent in 2011. Since the last major COP in Copenhagen, C40 cities have taken 10,000 climate actions – a doubling of actions in just six years – and have committed to reduce their CO2 emissions by 3 Gt CO2 by 2030, equivalent to the annual carbon output of India. Furthermore, decisions taken by global cities to invest in low carbon development over the next 15 years have the potential to avoid locking in a total of 45 Gt of CO2, or eight times the total current annual emissions of the United States.
November 17, 2015
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Awards Jury has announced that Bosco Verticale, Milan, is the overall “2015 Best Tall Building Worldwide” at the 14th Annual CTBUH International Best Tall Building Awards Symposium, Ceremony & Dinner, held last week at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. In July, the CTBUH Awards Jury named a winner from each of the four competing regions in the world: Americas, Asia & Australasia, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. The Regional Winners were One World Trade Center, New York City, United States; CapitaGreen, Singapore; Bosco Verticale, Milan, Italy; Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid Tower, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Although the overall winner was primarily a residential tower, offices were well represented in the regional winners thanks to the inclusion of One World Trade Center and Capita Green.
October 21, 2015
Two new surveys demonstrate that while small firms in creative sectors are essential for the economic success of the UK’s cities, many small businesses are struggling to find appropriate and well-priced office space in London and are now calling on the incoming new Mayor of London to address the issue as a matter of urgency. While a report from the Centre for Cities shows how small businesses in the creative, professional and digital sectors drive job growth, productivity and average wages in ten key UK cities, the study by the Federation of Small Businesses claims that the cost of commercial property remains one of the most pressing concerns for many SMEs based in London. The FSB study also found that the cost of living in London was also a concern for small employers in the capital, with many claiming it makes it incredibly hard to attract and retain employees.
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