This month's Special Report is a collection of articles on how we live, work, play and develop in Europe’s cities; from electric cars and a look at Norway’s largest urban development to how young city dwellers are escaping to the countryside and a personal essay by an environmentally conscious ­20-something planning graduate.

The arrival of Mipim between 12 and 15 March is often a good way to assess the latest trends in development and urban planning. Ahead of that, we thought we would take a fresh look at the urban theme, lifting the lid on issues that will have a growing infl uence on how successful projects should be done – especially by taking into account the attitudes of younger people towards the urban realm.

The organisers of Mipim obviously felt the same way with their introduction this year of the very first Young Leaders Summit. Advertising it as ‘making room for the next generation’ with a debate om tomorrow’s city, hot topics to be debated are promoting ecology on a daily basis, respecting the environment, increasing mobility, re-inventing city-centre shopping, and making buildings eco-friendlier.

Thinking along similar lines, for this special section on urban development we have found our own ‘Young Leader’, an urban masters graduate whom we asked to share issues that matter to the generation of people in their 20s.

This cohort are just starting out on their working lives and comprise a big proportion of those seeking somewhere to live, work and play, so what such young professionals think about living and working in the urban realm is important to developers and property investors (see page 18).

People nowadays want communities where they can work and spend their leisure time, and developers certainly understand this. In looking for examples of the latest projects in Europe, we decided to turn the spotlight on a huge infill development in Oslo called Bjørvika – in fact Norway’s largest urban project. An integral part of the strategy for the scheme is to create a lively, open and inclusive ‘urban floor’ with a focus on the growing F&B segment (see page 30).

As well as giving a platform to our young leader and the Norwegian project, we also examine the thoughts of Lord Adair Turner, chairman of the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC), on how the electric car can help towards lowering the carbon footprint in the urban context (see page 22).

However, we shouldn’t forget that urban dwellers do not actually want to spend 100% of their time in man-made blocks. Increasingly, the urbanite wants a countryside experience, so we also turn the urban theme on its head by examining how some from the concrete jungle are actually heading out for the weekend to green fields, thus helping owners  of rural property to diversify their income from agricultural produce (see page 26).

Back in the city, we spent time at a WeWork office in London with two of its ‘members’ to find out what is important to them when selecting office space. The young founder of a crypto currency platform and the global marketing head of a data platform may surprise you with some of their comments on office occupational decision-making (see page 66).

And, for where in Europe technology workers want to be, turn to page 75 in our Office Watch section. Last but not least, we report on how Ivanhoé Cambridge is behind a fund to develop wooden offices in Paris (see page 73). 


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