High streets have played a central role in our towns and cities for hundreds of years, bringing people together to debate, to shop and to socialise. As the world evolves and society changes, it’s right that we take a fresh look at our high streets. While some continue to thrive, others must transform. How can they find new purpose? How can they be reimagined to flourish now and in the future?
To inject some fresh thinking into this problem, we launched the BPF Futures Challenge, a ground-breaking new initiative that put real estate’s future leaders at the heart of solving one of the biggest challenges facing our towns and cities.
A partnership between the Office of Government Property, the Local Government Association, the British Property Federation and U+I, the initiative was run as a two day ‘Challenge’ across 24 and 25 September 2019, during which 12 teams of challengers – drawn from the public and private sectors – focused on the town centre of Hyde in Tameside, Greater Manchester, working collaboratively to find solutions to the challenges it is experiencing.
The competition was open to all property professionals, with 10 years’ or fewer experience in the property sector. No prior experience in town planning or regeneration was required, our Challengers just needed to have open minds and the ability to think creatively and have the enthusiasm to make a real difference.
A panel of experts, with experience ranging from urban design, infrastructure and housing delivery to artificial intelligence and social enterprise were on hand throughout the Challenge to give advice and lend their expertise to the challengers.
Having been hosted on a tour of Hyde town centre by Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council ahead of the Challenge, teams were also given access to a ‘data room’, which contained a brief on Hyde and other relevant pieces of research, information and guidance.
On the day of the Challenge the teams received further briefings from our experts, detailing the key areas to focus on and encouraging them to think creatively when putting together their concepts for Hyde and to utilise the multi-discipline nature of the teams to truly draw on the talent and knowledge at their disposal. Following the briefings on Day 1 of the Challenge, teams spent Day 2 working up their ideas, drawing on our experts’ knowledge.
At the end of the Challenge each team presented their bold and innovative ideas to a panel of expert judges before then delivering a short 2 minute pitch to the rest of the Challengers. Our judges then whittled them down to a shortlist of three. Team 7 – ‘Reynold Street’ were then announced as the winners of the first ever BPF Futures Challenge at MIPIM UK on 14 October. Members of the winning team gave a short presentation of their vision to revitalise Hyde, a vision that will be made reality through a £100,000 package of support through the government’s One Public Estate programme.
BPF Futures – independent of, but supported by the British Property Federation – is a network, shaped and managed by junior professionals, for anyone with 10 years or less experience in the property industry. The future of Real Estate will be defined by our ability to nurture a more diverse pool of leaders – BPF Futures is a network designed to develop tomorrow’s property industry leaders, to ensure a more sustainable future for our sector and the UK’s economic & social wellbeing.
U+I is a specialist regeneration developer and investor. With a £11 billion+ portfolio of complex, mixed-use, community-focused regeneration projects including a £154 million investment portfolio, we are unlocking urban sites bristling with potential in the London, Manchester and Dublin city regions. We exist to create long-term socio-economic benefit for the communities in which we work, delivering sustainable returns to our shareholders.
The Office of Government Property (OGP), formerly the Government Property Unit (established in 2010) supports government and the wider public sector to manage their estate more efficiently and effectively, helping to deliver the finest public services and supporting the government’s priorities by unlocking surplus land for housing, and encouraging the creation of public service jobs outside London to support economic growth. OGP builds capacity and capability in the property function across government through leadership of the Government Property Profession and improving use of data for better decision making.
The Local Government Association is the national voice of local government, working with councils to support, promote and improve local government.
The British Property Federation is the membership organisation for, and the voice of, the UK real estate industry.
BPF represents and promotes the interests of all those with a stake in real estate in the UK – owners, developers, funders (equity and debt), agents and advisers.
BPF work with government and regulatory bodies to help the real estate industry grow and thrive, to the benefit of their members and the economy as a whole. Because BPF membership is industry wide, they can provide government and regulators with the knowledge they need to make decisions.