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Lindsey Richards: MIPIM – Les recompenses

Lindsey Richards FRTPI is RTPI President 2024

I hold my hand up! I have often wondered what are the real benefits of attending MIPIM. Three days in the French Riveria with 20,000 built environment and property experts, professional bodies, civic leaders, consultancies and developers, all of which descend on a town of just 74,000 inhabitants. Cannes becomes a hub of knowledge and expertise which is forward thinking, pushing boundaries and providing opportunities to make new connections and networks. What’s not to like?

It was my first visit to MIPIM and I was offered plenty of helpful advice. I heeded that advice – packed flat shoes, sun cream, umbrella and blister plasters and carefully studied a spreadsheet with a very organised and full schedule of meetings, panel discussions, presentations and a few receptions, starting shortly after 8am each day.

Each of those items that I was advised to pack proved invaluable (except the umbrella). MIPIM was fast paced and highly rewarding given the people, organisations and networks I engaged with and the new connections I made.

Planning was, of course, frequently referenced. There was an understanding (and at times frustration) about why there are delays in the process and the need to properly resource the function. We heard and contributed to the discussions around the value of strategic planning, the role of planning in economic growth and providing confidence and certainty in places which support sustainable development.

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Lindsey with Jane Healey Brown, a Director of Planning at Arup, and Lord Charlie Banner KC

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Lindsey with Joanne Roney CBE, Chief Executive Manchester City Council

The days were intense but rewarding, and included constructive meetings with the UN to discuss collaborating on digital training tools for local urban planning departments in the Global South, the GMCA on understanding the value of collaboration in strategic planning, Savills on supporting apprenticeships, civic leaders on properly resourced planning departments, RICS and RIBA on future joint working and hearing the Housing Minister making the case for UK investment and ‘ beautiful’ buildings. A few highlights over a very busy three days.

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Lindsey speaks with RIBA President Muyiwa Oki

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Lindsey with RICS President Tina Paillet and President Elect Justin Sullivan

And whilst planning was high on the agenda a major talking point was NEOM, the Global Conference Programme Sponsor and in particular the concept of a cognitive city – The Line. This is Saudi Arabia’s vision for 2030 and which redefining liveability in a way that, it is claimed, will disrupt the market  and change the way we live. The Line is a city that stretches across 170 km, reaching a height of 500m and 200m in width and will accommodate 9 million people on a foot print of just 34 square kilometres. Residents will have access to all daily essentials within a five minute walk and high speed rail will cover the 170 km in 20 minutes. The environment will be designed to provide optimal balance of sunlight, shade and natural ventilation and the city will be zero carbon with integration of nature and open space. Certainly an alternative way to live… maybe …. But not for me!

But you make your own mind up THE LINE: a revolution in urban living (

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