Cityscape's Real Estate Summit delivers platform for meaningful connections and market growth

Physical B2B event serves as a catalyst for investment and knowledge-sharing


Dubai, UAE: Cityscape’s Real Estate Summit, a special one-off edition of the annual event, successfully delivered over 100 hours of important industry-specific talks as key real estate ecosystem representatives converged to stimulate business, make meaningful connections and share knowledge over two days at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

Over 1,700 industry professionals attended one of the first physical B2B events held in Dubai during the COVID-19 pandemic, within the safe, controlled and hygienic setting at DWTC delivered via stringent Informa AllSecure health and safety standards and protocols.

Majida Ali Rashid, CEO of the Real Estate Promotion and Investment Management sector at Dubai Land Department, Government partners at the event, said: “The significance of Dubai Land Department’s partnership with Cityscape is not to be understated. The event has and will continue to be a central place for local, regional and international real estate organisations and professionals to gather and positively impact the industry. For us, it remains a strong platform to launch projects, such as the Real Estate Development Guide, which is the result of cooperation with all governmental and semi-governmental entities concerned with the real estate sector, to provide a reference tool that contributes to enhancing the ease of doing business in real estate development. The guide explains the process in a simple and useful manner while specifying the mechanisms for providing the services, the time required to complete it, its cost, and the party responsible for its implementation.”

“We now turn our sights to next year’s event, which will take place at the Expo 2020 site. In what will become Dubai’s largest centralised hub for business, how we bridge and strengthen the public and private real estate sector will play a fundamental role for DLD, Cityscape, Dubai and the entire region.”

The one-off edition offered a radical departure from the annual event’s normal format. Co-created with the regional real estate industry as a direct response to market demand for a B2B meeting place and knowledge-sharing destination amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the summit served as a platform to conduct business, network and drive industry growth.

During the summit, Majid Al Marri, CEO – Real Estate Registration and Services Sector at DLD, highlighted the digital transformation and innovation driving DLD forward and simplifying property transactions for local and international buyers and sellers, including a new initiative on building classification set to transform price calculations.

“DLD has invested heavily in artificial intelligence to power new services, such as smart evaluation and audits, and we will continue to evolve and build on that momentum to increase initiatives that would deliver greater efficiency and accuracy in all our services,” said Al Marri.

On the side-lines of the summit, DLD, through the Real Estate Promotion and Investment Management Sector, welcomed a real estate delegation from the USA through Century 21 UAE in addition to an Egyptian delegation from the Council of Arab Businesswomen. These visits come within the framework of strengthening cooperation between the UAE and brotherly and friendly countries, and supporting cooperation and coordination between the public and private sectors.

DLD, through the Real Estate Promotion and Investment Management Sector, honoured real estate researchers who were provided with the required data and information about the real estate market, enabling them to prepare studies and research that enrich their academic careers to contribute to the development of Dubai’s real estate market.

Chris Speller, Group Director Cityscape, Informa Markets, said: “The Real Estate Summit has been a breath of fresh air, a genuinely fruitful platform where genuine industry connections could be made following months of uncertainty caused by COVID-19. The event has restarted market conversations to address difficult questions and seek solutions for the future of the industry — we have put real estate front and centre again.”

“The industry reacted positively to this specially devised format, and our social distancing measures and hygiene protocols enabled brands, businesses and public-sector bodies to come together, forge long-term investment strategies, and share information and opinions that will shape the future of the industry and help the market get back to business.”

A wealth of high-profile speakers, including HE Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri; HE Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing; HE Marwan Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority; and Ahmed Al Khatib, Chief Development and Delivery Officer at Expo 2020 Dubai; examined a broad range of issues driving the local real estate industry over two days of discussions and dialogues. This reflects the focus of Dubai leaders' interest to participate as speakers in Cityscape, due to its importance in supporting Dubai’s real estate sector.

Leading brands also weighed in with informative sessions at the Cityscape Intelligence Arena and Cityscape Intelligence Talks series, comprising topics of interest across industry sectors, including residential, industrial, hospitality, retail and commercial. Sessions covered the benefits of REITs, artificial intelligence, the strong performance of Industrial and logistics, the impact of e-commerce on the retail sector, and the road to recovery for the residential sector.

Other sessions included the importance of the smart city concept in the post-pandemic world, the ecological and healthy choices driving design, planning and the tourist industry, design-thinking for the post-pandemic workplace, and long-term strategy in design specific to education.

Large turnouts listened to thought-provoking sessions on commercial real estate, the effect of COVID-19 on our cities, AI and energy-saving in commercial buildings, automation and proptech, the rise of staycations and their impact on the hospitality sector, repurposing in design, and on a deep dive into the correlation between population and residential real estate in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In addition to the talks, the event generated businesses through a Hosted Buyers stand that acted as a central meeting place for investors.

As well as driving business and discussion around the future of the industry, the event further strengthened the relations between the public and the private sector in the region. Businesses across the real estate value chain were quick to laud the special event format, including Whitebricks, a technologically innovative property development, investment and management firm.

Akemini Okon, Whitebricks’ Business Development Manager, said: “Our achieved our aims at the summit of meeting and initiating discussions with some of Dubai’s government entities, in particular Dubai Land Department, and of meeting investors for our service. Face-to-face meetings are still crucial to our business, and the high level of hygiene and safety at Cityscape’s Real Estate Summit was encouraging.”

The event will be back in its traditional exhibition format as Cityscape Global in November next year at the Expo 2020 Dubai Exhibition Centre.

Cityscape’s Real Estate Summit was made possible with support from public partners, Government of Dubai and Dubai Land Department; knowledge sponsors, JLL, Knight Frank and Land Sterling; summit sponsors, Sobha Realty, Azizi Developments, Farrbury Capital Partners, Elitzam Group and Damac Properties; architecture partner, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA); start-up partner, Clear It; PropTech partner, WhiteBricks; and portal partner, houza.

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