The View From MIPIM 2022: A Reflection of Our Times

Adam Dent

Strategic Advisor

Viewing life through the lens of MIPIM has never been a good idea.

The largest commercial property development and investment show in the world has attracted 30,000 delegates to the South of France for close on three decades. It is THE epicentre of a hugely wealthy industry and all the serious players made the trek to France every March.

Many of those in attendance are probably financially insulated from life’s harsher realities but as they returned – albeit in smaller numbers – this week it was impossible not to see the impact of wider issues on the event.

The first glaring difference between this year and the last time the show was held in 2019, was the absence of Russian-owned yachts in the harbour. A large proportion of Moscow money which has found its way west has been sunk into property and their presence at MIPIM was conspicuous.

All Russian companies were banned from the show and the organisers have painted any vacant stands in the blue and yellow national colours of Ukraine. In an industry not overly imbued with sentiment, it was a poignant reminder of very troubled times on the very same continent.

The list of Ukrainian companies who had been due to attend was featured inside the main exhibition hall, and one felt for cities and nations neighbouring the war-torn state who were there trying to push their investment potential. A tragically hard sell at this time.

The two-year hiatus also made other industry changes more glaring. The first three posters I saw for the show all featured the word sustainable, while green was very much the trending colour in Cannes.

That was also evident closer to home. I have been working on behalf the Coventry and Warwickshire MIPIM Partnership, and the city’s major public push was – along with neighbours Birmingham and Wolverhampton – around the retrofit of housing in the region to ensure it is equipped for the lower carbon future.

There was no escaping that numbers were down but I would hazard a guess that was the result of financial constraints rather than travel and health worries.

The result was a more focussed event. Those who came have been here to do business and that created a slightly different atmosphere than usual.

MIPIM will, in time, return to what it was, but it has probably been improved by having to confront the unavoidable issues of the last three years – and it would do well to retain some of its new-found humility.

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