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Building Our Future

Author: Bert Broadhead

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Bert Broadhead & guests explore developing themes in innovation, technology & futurology in real estate and the built environment.
37 Episodes
How do we design buildings and places with wellness in mind? Do we need to reconsider residential design to reflect changing life priorities?Andrew Mcmullan is a British architect whose fresh and optimistic approach to design has helped create renowned global projects that make a deep impact on places and people. In 2018, he founded Mcmullan Studio to evolve his positive vision of architecture. Based in London, Andrew leads his team to create beautiful, buildable projects for progressive clients who recognise the capacity of original design to transform people’s lives.In this podcast:How do we define “wellness” and how can it be integrated into design?How are emerging wellness themes changing our expectations from how we interact with our buildings and built environment?How do you masterplan for a civic area where there are so many integral stakeholders?Can better quality affordable rural housing keep younger people in rural communities?How are expectations shifting towards generational housing and has the Covid-19 crisis accelerated these trends?You can find out more about Andrew’s projects here:Masterplan for Innbruck’s Knowledge QuarterRegeneration plans for SkiptonPlans for the M&G garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower ShowDesigns for affordable rural homes for young peopleAndrew’s recommended reading is Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Cartmull, a driving influence on Andrew’s though process when establishing his practice and ways of working.His favourite building is Royal Festival Hall for the way in which it captured the spirit of the age at the time. His technology to watch out for is wearable devices and the ability to use the data which they collect to better adapt buildings to how we use them.
Martha Weidmann is CEO and Co-Founder of Nine Dot Arts in Denver, Colorado. Nine Dot Arts is a consulting firm that not only curates inspirational art experiences, but also serves as an advocate for both art and artists.In this podcast:What’s driving the renaissance of the use of art in the built environment?What are the benefits of art for spaces, places and buildings?What mediums of art are being used?How are arts projects generally funded?How important is ROI of art and how can it be tracked?Do art installations need to be permanent?How do you develop an art strategy for a place or building?How is art sourced?Martha references Rainbow Militia’s adaptation to performance in a post-Covid world. You can read more about their innovative use of a 1900s bungalow here. Martha’s favourite building is Fort Gaines, Alabama.Her recommended book is The Best Place to Work; The Art & Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, Ron Friedman; a book that has shaped the building of the Nine Dot Arts business.Her technology to watch out for is AI in respect of its ability to create and identify curators and transform them into super-curators.
nnovation; everyone wants it but how can we help create it through urban and building design?Katie Kasabilis is an urbanist, architect and educator whose career has straddled the worlds of practice and academia. She is currently an assistant professor in architecture at the University of Virginia, a Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE Cities and the Design Director of Kasawoo. Her work is at the forefront of a new direction for urban research – one that investigates the role of technological innovation in guiding models of future development. Her current research investigates the evolution of the workplace under the pressures of today’s knowledge economy.In this podcast:Innovation as a primary factor in building design for leading occupiersThe best examples of buildings and districts that foster innovationIs design alone enough for innovation to flourish?Are tech campuses the blueprint for large scale urban planning and design?Has Covid-19 changed the direction of travel or just accelerated pre-existing trends?Is this the end of boom of urbanisation as we’ve known it?Will transport still be key to defining places?Katie’s favourite building is the Kolumba art museum in Cologne, a building which left an indelible memory.Her recommended book is The Life & Death of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs; a book as relevant now as it was when first published in 1961.Her technology to watch out for in machine learning with its range of possibilities; from intuitive design though to asset valuations.
What are “smart” buildings & how will they change the way we design, build and use our built environment?Pradyumna Pandit is the Vice President UK & Ireland of Digital Energy, a at Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation. He previously worked at Honeywell for 18 years where he held roles in Asia, the Americas and EMEA.   In this podcast:What’s driving the growing interest in smart(er) buildings?What’s Schneider Electric’s role been to date and where does it see the future?Can buildings be retrofitted as “smart”?Who’s responsible for the technology within buildings - owners or occupiers?What are the keys to a successful digital building strategy?How to Digital Twins and BIM fit into the smart building agenda?Pradyumna’s favourite building is Land Sec’s 80 Victoria Street at Cardinal Place, London HQ of Schneider Electric and showcase for their digital implementation strategies.His recommended book is Managing Oneself, Peter F. DruckerHis technology to watch out for is the digital twin; when used from conception of the building through to the full life cycle of the asset. 
Nicholas Boys-Smith left a job in banking to set up Create Streets, a research institute that supports "community-led regeneration" and prioritises high-density, low-rise buildings over tower blocks. He is a Commissioner of Historic England, a senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham, a Fellow at the Legatum Institute and an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism. In this podcast:Why are beautiful buildings important?How do we measure beauty in the built environment?What are the key findings from the UK government-commissioned report: “Living with Beauty” , to help deliver heath, well-being and sustainable growth to developments?What role do bureaucratic frameworks play in creating better places, not just more places?Does technology have a role is building beautiful?Is a mass-tree planting movement a good idea, in the context of better urban design?Nicholas’s favourite place is Gold Hill in Shaftesbury; made famous by Hovis but loved for its statement of design overcoming seemingly impossible natural challenges.His recommended book is Mental Health and the Built Environment: More Than Bricks And Mortar?, David HalpernHis technology to watch out for is modular building for its potential to bring back craftsmanship and individuality into building and design.
How can we navigate technology’s impact on the world’s largest asset class?Dror Poleg is the author of Rethinking Real Estate and the Co-Chair of the Urban Land Institute’s Technology and Innovation Council in New York. He is a former real estate and technology executive who now dedicates most of his time to researching the impact of technology on urban life and the way physical assets are designed, used, and valued. Dror advises executives across the real estate universe on emerging business models and consumer behaviors. His clients include multi-billion dollar companies such as AvalonBay Communities, British Land, Dubai Holding, and Cushman & Wakefield, industry organisations such as the National Multifamily Housing Council, NAIOP, EPRA, and INREV, as well as venture-backed startups such as Breather, Bumblebee Spaces, and Carson.In this podcast:How is the real estate model changing?How does this shift fit in with wider macro economic trends?What opportunities does technology bring to those working in real estate?Who will be the winners and losers in the the future built environment?What kind of decisions should real estate businesses be making now in order to thrive in the future?Dror’s recommended books are anything by either Michael Parker or Clay Christensen:For his favourite building, Dror picks Haussmann’s vision of Paris.Dror’s technology / innovation to watch is WeWork. This pick is made post-IPO drama and on the basis that there is more to come in terms of the effect the business will have on the way in which real estate is operated.
Can real estate development deliver social justice?Andrea Pizziconi is a singer, songwriter and social entrepreneur. She is the founder of the Christie Company (a pioneer in affordable, mixed-use developments) and of Africa Integras (financier of education infrastructure in Africa) as well as the co-founder of Compositions for a Cause, which creates cause-related music to inspire activism for social justice.In this podcast:Educational infrastructure & real estate as a catalyst for regenerationFunding with social capital - how to do itIs private capital the answer to social issues?The impact of building design on learning faculties and the role that taking care of other social needs playsLooking beyond student housing when it come to educational real estate investmentCombining careers in music and real estateAndrea’s recommended books are:The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, Robert A. CaroHer favourite buildings are:The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry for its visual impact at sunsetThe Dancing House Building in Prague (also known as Fred & Ginger), also designed by Frank GehryThe World Financial Center, New York, designed by Cesár Pelli, where the glass is designed to perfectly mirror the changing colours of the skyAndrea’s technology to watch out for is those that can empower the end user of the built environment. Her company, Girls First Finance, is certainly one to watch in this regard.
Breaking down the barriers: the built environment in a post-digital world where sectors, silos and boundaries are increasingly blurred.Vanessa Hale is Director of Research at BNP Paribas Real Estate and brand-new, and youngest ever, chair of ULI UK.Vanessa has 20 years of experience in global strategic research across all real estate sectors in the UK and the US.In this podcast:The breakdown of traditional real estate “sectors” and boundariesThe role of technology in changing how we use buildingsThe rising power of social value in real estate investingExpanding the horizons of those working in the build environmentHow to re-skill in a world of operational real estateThe changing face of later-livingAttracting talent to the real estate industryThe future of the ULI and how to get involvedVanessa’s recommended book is Good to Great, Jim Collins. Her favourite building is the Monadnock building in Chicago for its role in driving innovation in building upwards during the late 19th century.Vanessa’s emerging theme to watch out for is the role of public data in so far as how it interacts with the built environment; who will own it and how will it be used?
Can P2P lending boost housing delivery numbers by financially enabling SME house-builders? What does the P2P market need to learn from recent history to ensure a fair & transparent market of risk / reward for investors? Is technology the right answer?Mike Bristow is CEO & Co-founder of CrowdProperty; a specialist property peer-to-peer lending platform facilitating loans between private individuals and UK professional property businesses. Lending is focused on the SME property developer market, a key segment for supplying much needed UK housing stock, which Mike believes poorly and inefficiently served by traditional funding sources.  In this podcast:How did CrowdProperty come about and how does it differentiate itself from its peers?Why is P2P suited to the SME property developer market?Has the collapse of ‘mainstream’ P2P business (e.g. Lendy) impacted business?How does the CrowdProperty model harness traditional & tech skills to deliver its service?How much further has P2P got to go in respect of the built environmentMike’s favourite building is St Pancras. His recommended book is Yes! 50 secrets from the science of persuasion, Robert Cialdini & Steve Martin, encompassing 50 chapters of studies to ethically influence the human brain. Mike’s technology to keep an eye on is AskPorter; leveraging tech and AI to make human-resource intense management of buildings more efficient.
What is the great rotation and how will it affect the built environment in the years to come?Indy Johar is an architect, co-founder of Project 00 & Dark Matter Labs and Senior Innovation Associate at the Young Foundation. Dark Matter Labs is a field laboratory focused on radically redesigning the bureaucratic & institutional infrastructure of our cities, regions and towns for a more democratic, distributed great transition.Project 00 is a collaborative studio of architects, strategic designers, programmers, social scientists, economists and urban designers practising design beyond its traditional borders. Through 00, Indy has led on multiple social ventures from Impact Hub Westminster to Impact Hub Birmingham to; he has also co-led research projects such as The Compendium for the Civic Economy, whilst supporting several 00 explorations/experiments including the, He is now leading 00 on a development engine for a next generation of Impact Hubs.Indy is a Director of Data Science London, an Advisor to the Earth Security Initiative and a non-executive director of WikiHouse Foundation. He is a regular writer on and speaker at Ted Talks.In this podcast:How is real estate connected to ideas like political polarisation, climate change and conscious consumerism?The great rotation of capital - what role does the built environment have to play?Should assets be based on productive utility rather than floor area?What alternative finance & capital forms are emerging in the built environment?Have we yet seen truly transformative technologies in the build environment?Indy’s recommended book  for the BUilding Our Future reading list is:Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society, Eric A. PosnerIndy’s favourite building more of moment; in terms of the feelings emoted by walking through Manhattan, New York. His technology to watch is smart property rights.
Can technology help the built environment better reflect people’s changing social and ethical consumption choices?Ben is an economist, environmentalist and social entrepreneur. He has founded several businesses and charities, and worked for 6 years at the New Zealand Treasury - where he led the development of the Living Standards Framework. He co-founded CoGo while working at the New Zealand Treasury, and has grown the social enterprise to a thriving New Zealand movement with over 20,000 consumer members and 500 business customers.Ben’s vision is a world where consumers and businesses work together for the good of people and the planet. Ben has recently moved to London with his wife and two children, to launch the platform in the UK.In this podcast:How does CoGo work?Will people be happy to share banking data if it leads to social change?How can retail be changed by understanding the customer’s ethical prerogatives?How deep-rooted is the trend of conscious consumerism - what are people prepared to do to uphold these beliefs?Will a kite mark emerge for bench-marking & assessing the social values of buildings?For his favourite building, Ben selects his self-build, straw-bale eco-house in New Zealand.Ben prefers listening to podcasts than reading books so rather than adding to the Building Our Future reading list, his recommended podcast is The Environmental Economist.Ben’s innovative technology to watch out for is the data collection and collation. Data is the building blocks of insight and those who are best at gathering it, will have access to the best analysis and ability to change things.
How can well-designed landscape & public realm help create better cities for people?Alexandra is a chartered landscape architect in the UK, and also worked for a number of years in Canada where she was responsible for a series of innovative public realm projects for the City of Vancouver. In  2013, Alexandra founded URBAN with the stated aim of creating better cities for people through a synthesis of art, landscape and sustainability. Before starting her own practice, Alexandra led the Aecom Europe Design Team, and was also Practice Director for Martha Schwartz Partners’ London office. Aside from her work with URBAN, Alexandra acts as a Built Environment Expert for Design Council Cabe, and sits on the Highways England Design Panel. She lectures at architectural schools, conferences and is a reviewer at universities including Harvard and The Bartlett, UCL. In this podcast:Is the role & remit of landscape architecture misunderstood?How can you demonstrate ROI in landscape and public realm?What should good landscape seek to achieve?Does ownership impact on public realm and how can this be overcome?How is landscaping used as a medium for regeneration?Where in the world is landscaping most difficult & what can be learned from this?What role does future-proofing & innovations such as autonomous vehicles play in influencing the shape of the urban architecture?For her favourite building, Alexandra selects Quai Brandley by Jean Novel & Patrick Blanc for its seamless integration between building and landscape.The recommended addition to the Building Our Future reading list is:Eckhart Tolle, A New EarthAlexandra’s technology to watch for is autonomous vehicles and its potential impact on the ways that cities are designed and in which people move.
Charlie Wade is UK Managing director of PropTech giant, VTS. In their own words, VTS is the commercial real estate industry’s leading leasing and asset management platform. Landlords use VTS to maximise portfolio performance by transforming their leasing and asset management process and unlocking real-time insights – enabling them to convert leads to leases faster than ever before,  and build informed data-led strategies. Brokers can manage their deal pipeline and get tenants into empty spaces faster, collaborate across teams and work easily with their landlord clients using VTS for Brokers.Beyond his role at VTS, Charlie’s an influential figure in promoting technology within the property industry and has a background firmly rooted in the traditional industry.In this podcast:Life as a unicorn; how did it happen and what comes next?Data gathering to big data insight; are we on the cusp of an analytical revolution?Tech first mover advantage; is there room for 2nd place in PropTech?Democracy and data; is value derived for SaaS or the data that is collected as a result?Where is the real estate market on is journey of technology adoption?For his favourite building, Charlie selects the somewhat vague historic London; from Pall Mall to Westminster.The recommended addition to the Building Our Future reading list is:Geoffrey A. Moore, Crossing the ChasmMatthew Dixon, The Challenger SaleCharlies technology to watch for is sensor-led technology, influencing design and usage of buildings to influence the future of the workplace.You can find & follow Charlie on social media via Twitter for further information.
Is there really a Retail Apocalypse? Why is the retail industry in the state its in and how can property owners help to rebuild towards a brighter retail future? Mark Pilkington is author of the newly-released book, Retail Therapy: why the industry is broken and what can be done to fix it. Mark has enjoyed a successful and varied career in retail. After graduating from INSEAD, he joined Cortaulds, later becoming CEO of Gossard where he was responsible for initiating the huge global success of the Wonderbra.He then founded, the world’s first direct-to-consumer commerce brand, with the backing of Marks & Spencer. Subsequently, he was CEO of KOJ Group, a leading retailer with 850 stores across the middle east and north Africa. Currently, he is director of, providing strategic advice to brands and retailers In this podcast:Is Retail Apocalypse a hyperbolic way to describe the state of the industry?Can we better understand the future of the industry by really learning how it has reached its current state?How can the physical store compete in the digital world?How, in Mark’s view of the new retail paradigm, physical stores can be a key advantage for even direct-to-consumer e-commerce brandsFor his favourite building, Mark opts for a slightly wider view in Haussmann’s vision of Paris, including the view down the Champs Elyseé, for its role as a work of art.The recommended addition to the Building Our Future reading list is:Tony Robbins, Awaken The Giant WithinMark’s emerging technology to keep an eye on is the emergence of 3D printing as a conduit for providing mass consumer customisation at-scale.You can find & follow Mark on social media via Twitter for further information.
Can technology nurture greater community engagement in the shape of develop projects and will this help “democratise” real estate? My guest today is Savannah de Savary, founder and CEO of Built-ID; a prop-tech platform that “showcases the built environment projects of today and transforms community engagement to better shape the projects of tomorrow”. Built-ID connects architects and consultants with potential clients on an online hub which has been described as the Shazam of property.After graduating from the University of Oxford in 2013, Savannah joined Thor Equities before founding Built-ID in 2015.  Savanah has won “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” at the Property Awards, was voted in Property Week’s ‘Power 100: Top 20 Ones to Watch’ and as one of the Top 20 Proptech influencers in a poll by the UK Proptech Association. She is also a regular columnist for Property Week and sits on the Legacy Foundation Board of Trustees and the ULI Young Leaders and Urban Art Forums. In this podcast:The origins of Built-ID and problem that Savannah set out to solveThe consequences of amassing a photos library of building interiors and exteriors in excess of 250,000 images - what happens next?“Give My View” - Built-ID’s innovation to bring more people into development consultancy process; how does it work?What is democracy in the context of the built environment?What are the developer’s responsibilities in respect to the local community?What emerging building trends can Built-ID help identify?Understandably given the designs she encounters in her job, Savannah has too many favourite buildings to choose a specific one but Bloomberg’s London HQ was the first building that sprung to mind! The recommended addition to the Building Our Future reading list is:Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard ThingsYou can find & follow Savannah on social media via Twitter for further information.
Building communities at the scale needed to meet the challenges of the UK’s housing shortage.In 2018, Fiona Fletcher-Smith left City Hall (where she was Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment) to join L&Q where she is Group Director of Development and Sales, responsible for delivering the Registered Provider’s stated aim of constructing 100,000 new homes in the next decade.One of L&Q’s flagship projects is Barking Riverside, an 443 acre site where the vision is to create a brand-new riverfront town in East London and deliver a thriving, new eco-district comprising: 10,800 homes, new schools, commercial and cultural offerings, along 2km of Thames river frontage.In this podcast:What are the growth plans for London largest property owner?How does L&Q role as a long-term owner of assets influence planning and design?What is the approach for designing new urban settlements, as at Barking Riverside?How can you help create communities within development projects?How do you manage meanwhile uses in long-term projects?How can residents be brought into the discussion about future plans and continual shaping of the project and the masterplan?Fiona is a huge fan of tall buildings (in the right context) and her choice of favourite building is the Shard for its design and positive impact on the regeneration of the locality. Fiona’s hot pick for innovation in the sector offsite construction. The recommended addition to the Building Our Future reading list tackles collaboration in problem-solving, which is:Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking:  Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance: The Surprising Truth About Success
One man’s mission to live in painted cities; how can street art transform both buildings and communities?Holding a PhD in Evolutionary Mathematics from Cambridge, Lee was a former break-dancer with the Soul Mavericks Crew where he represented the UK and he has travelled the world extensively documenting street art world-wide. In 2012, he co-founded Global Street Art with a mission to live in painted cities. This is achieved in three ways:Curating the world’s largest online street art platform with artists from over 100 countries and hundreds of thousands of photographs and over half a million followers on social media;Organising legal street art murals; having organised over 2,000 since 2012;Forming an agency that works on commercial projects.In this podcast:What is street art and how is it already shaping our cities?What role does art have in helping to create vibrant communities?How are brands helping to fund the growth of street art?How does street art retain authenticity as it enters a new, “legal” era?Is street art designed to challenge communities or represent them?Can we measure the impact of street art on a location?Lee’s favourite building is the Schindler House  in West Holywood; an experiment in 1920’s social architecture and arguably an early forbear of the current trend of co-living. His hot pick for innovation in the sector is Gyana AI, focused on retail analytics. The recommended addition to the Building Our Future reading list is:Frans Johansson, The Medici Effect: what elephants and epidemics can teach us about innovationYou can find & follow Lee and Global Street Art on social media via Instagram or Twitter for further information.Image courtesy of Tony Briggs (
What is Artificial Intelligence and how is about to reshape our approach to work? Will this mean that SpaceAsaService becomes the new normal for the build environment? Antony is a renowned speaker in the property world and a globally recognised expert on PropTech, Artificial Intelligence & SpaceAsaService. A pre-eminent blogger in the world of AI, he’s recently been voted as the number one non-US person to follow on Twitter. Having founded several PropTech companies, he still retains an active role in them and recently founded PropAI.In this podcast:Where do we stand on the PropTech journey?What actually is AI and how can we expect it to affect the built environment?Are there tangible examples of AI at work already in real estate?Why is AI suddenly at the forefront of everyone’s minds?How can business embrace AI to stay relevant in the digital age?Is AI a threat to jobs in the built environment? How can we stay relevant as individuals?Is SpaceAsaService the natural consequence of AI?Why are we about to enter a “Golden Age of Real Estate”?Antony’s favourite building is Giotto’s Campanile in Florence as an “insanely elegant” structure. His hot pick for innovation in the sector is Gyana AI, focused on retail analytics. The recommended additions to the newly formed Building Our Future reading list are:Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee, The Second Machine Age: work, progress and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologiesHannah Fry, Hello World; How to be Human in the Age of the MachineYou can find & follow Antony on social media via LinkedIn or Twitter (@antonyslumbers) or see his blog for further information.
Do we give enough thought to the impact that the design and layout of our workplaces has on our individual & collective productivity & well-being? I delve into the world of workspace science to find the answers.Ros Pomeroy is a co-founder of Brainy Birdz; a consultancy specialising in the unpronounceable (for me, anyway) ‘zusammenarbeit’ - that’s to say, how people work together. Together with co-founder Dr Kerstin Sailer, Ros is at the forefront of using data to help diagnose what makes a workplace tick and what role design plays in this.In this podcast:What is workspace science and who should it be of interest to?How is design enabling the growth in co-working that we’re seeing?How can seating & proximity plans be optimised to bust silos in the office & bring people together?What’s the importance of visibility within the work place?Why are open-plan offices getting such a hard time of late?Ros’s favourite buildings are the new Google Campus & The Francis Crick Institute at Kings Cross for their design-led focus on collaboration & knowledge sharing. Her innovation to follow is the growing trend of data-led decision making across the build environment.The recommended addition to the newly formed Building Our Future reading list is Neil Usher’s The Elemental Workplace (see here for her review).You can find & follow Ros on social media via LinkedIn or Twitter (@rosamundpomeroy). For more references, do have a look at the Brainy Birdz blog. Also, Ros and Kerstin run regular workshops for anyone interested in learning more.
Can we better serve our ageing population through a new model of inter-generational co-living?Justin Shee is the founder of The Kohab; a new inter-generational retirement living company, bringing old and young adults together under one roof to live in mutual support. The Kohab is both a potential answer to the age ghettos created by retirement living and a solution to the loneliness epidemic faced by both young and old adults in the UK.           In this podcast:What’s behind the growing epidemic of loneliness and how can our design and usage of the built environment help to tackle it?Why are baby-boomers still reluctant down-sizers & renters? How can this be changed?Should we revisit the rationale behind the current status quo of segregated “retirement” / senior living? What are the advantages of inter-generational living, both for the residents and the wider society?What are the financial models for encouraging the use of inter-generational living and how does The Kohab intend to nurture the identity of the community?Can inter-generational living extend to even younger populations e.g. creches? Justin’s favourite building is Henry VI’s Gothic masterpiece, King’s College Chapel in Cambridge. In terms of real estate innovation, automated valuation models (AVMs) are Justin’s hot topic to watch!You can find & follow Justin on social media via LinkedIn or Twitter (@JustinShee). For more references, you can look at:Why inter-generational models may be the answer for solving the loneliness epidemicHow inter-generational living benefits the ‘book-end’ generationsLiving Closer; the many faces of co-housingSavannah de Savary’s piece in Property Week on high-tech, collaborative retirement living
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