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The BNP Paribas Professorship in Real Estate held its first event on 27 March, with a fascinating conference on urban design given by Francesca Heathcote Sapey.

Nowadays, cities need to face new challenges: an increasing population creates the need for cities not only to accommodate more people, but also be able to expand and develop as the population keeps on growing. Cities need to be proactive instead of reactive; they need to be resilient in order to use their resources efficiently and be able to flexibly address issues and face potential emergencies.
This is the gist of the conference about urban design and its latest trends given by Francesca Heathcote Sapey, partner at the Teresa Sapey architectural Studio in Madrid, at ESCP’s Madrid campus.

Francesca Heathcote SapeyCities shape the way we interact with space. By showing some great examples of urbanism and different architectural structures, she explained how it is possible to shape how people use spaces by focusing on urbanism. Working on urban projects with a functional perspective in mind can have a major impact on the way people live and on what the city is able to offer them.

Francesca Heathcote Sapey showed how, by making small-scale interventions on the cities' landscape, it is possible to foster the engagement of people with the construction sites, to promote education of people towards certain values, and to sustain the growth of new businesses.

Finally, Francesca linked urban design with real estate investments.
The new frontier of investment comprises investing in public spaces not only with a focus on their end results, which can be seen only after many years. By building temporary structures, leasing spaces to start-ups and small businesses, and promoting activities on construction sites, users are attracted earlier on to come use and engage with these locations, even though the final project is far from being completed.
By doing so, it is possible not only to start benefiting from the investments earlier on, but also to give a boost to small emerging businesses and to create value for people and the community.