By the third day I was seeking out any seat I could find! Well, not quite. But there really was so much to see and experience at the show, lots of interesting and informative discussions and not least plenty of new contacts.

But let´s just stay with the visual impressions for a moment: My favourite stands were soon identified. First and foremost the stand of Metropolia Silesia – white with distinctive round arches, open and very modern, I felt. Sustainability has very definitely arrived at EXPO REAL: the PLANNING & PARTNERSHIP FORUM was constructed out of euro pallets, and looked surprisingly good, but the stand of Skanska Development, too, made out of wooden slats, attracted attention to the company´s competence in sustainable construction.

Some of the discussions on retail property I found extremely interesting. In the panel sessions on “Urban Development: Retail developments in renewing city centres: does retail still have a place? What can it achieve and add?”, Matteo Hernandez, CEO of Barcelona Global, said something that sounded like music to my ears: Part of the attraction of shopping in Barcelona is that you can still find things there you can´t get elsewhere or on the internet, but that are only available in Barcelona.

In almost all the big cities you find the same retailers, but it is the presence of individual shops that make a stroll through town or a shopping tour so interesting. Yet in the subsequent discussion it became clear just how difficult it is for cities to retain those niche retailers, or to attract them back, because most of them can´t afford the rents that the big chains can.

Source : blog.exporeal.net

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