Addleshaw Goddard held a MIPIM seminar in conjunction with the BPF to highlight how infrastructure can unlock regeneration potential for the cities of tomorrow.

The CBI has said that 70% of businesses view increased strain on London’s infrastructure as a negative impact on their future operations. Any issue viewed as a barrier to growth by almost three-quarters of businesses is a pretty big deal! With this in mind, Addleshaw Goddard held a MIPIM seminar in conjunction with the BPF to allow senior industry figures from Argent, Arup, British Land, and UK Regeneration to react to this worrying revelation, and highlight how infrastructure can unlock regeneration potential for the cities of tomorrow. CoStar News editor Paul Norman chaired the debate.

For cities like London, where residential real estate is as much an investment as a home, infrastructure developments are a vital driver of regeneration. This is what truly distinguishes a ‘global city’ – connecting people effectively and enabling them to travel, work, live, and enjoy leisure activities.

Conversely, uncertainty and delays in infrastructure development lead to a dampening of investment appetites. A city can hardly claim to be ‘global’ if it cannot attract investment. Given that such a large number of businesses view infrastructure as hampering their future business prospects, it is clear that finding a solution to this lies at the heart of successful regeneration.

Infrastructure improvements can streamline the supply chain and the interactions between businesses, workers, consumers and suppliers, leading to better outcomes for all. Infrastructure plays a key role in connecting tomorrow’s cities, too. Better inter-city linkages will broaden access to skilled labour, for example.

Congestion on the UK’s roads stymies national productivity – to the tune of more than £300 billion by 2030 according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research. And that is without factoring in the cost of over-crowding on the UK’s rail networks.

To put things in context, the UK’s road quality ranks below that of Ecuador and Oman. While borrowing costs remain low, more needs to be done to drive forward infrastructure projects that will remove uncertainty and propel the UK towards greater economic growth in the medium term.

It is not just the direct cost of gridlock that must be weighed, but the opportunity cost of workers not being able to perform their professional duties properly, due to delays and so on. Delivery times also stall, and the knock-on impact can be higher costs for goods and services. All this without even getting into the environmental damage caused by pollution.

Social infrastructure

With fiscal deficits to contend with, social infrastructure investment has stalled. But social infrastructure must not be forgotten if we are to think effectively about regenerating towns and cities. Investment in education, health and affordable housing, as well as community areas and ‘softer’ services, is essential for economic growth and provides a platform for public and private investment to collide and interact.

For all of this, economic growth is not the only objective. At the heart of regeneration attempts lies a desire to improve quality of life. This social infrastructure element therefore gains critical importance if regeneration is to be successful.

Infrastructure improvements will continue to be the key building blocks for economic growth and for more tightly-knit, culturally connected communities. The longer these issues go untouched, the higher the ultimate cost for UK plc, so speed is of the essence!

This article was originally published on CoStar News.

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