28
May
2019
|
09:27
Europe/Amsterdam

Towards better urban living

Mr Wong giving his speech at the event

Housing policies, real estate finance, and the future of real estate and smart cities were some of the hot topics discussed at the inaugural conference, “Real Estate and Urban Studies”. Organised by the NUS Institute of Real Estate and Urban Studies (IREUS) on 24 May, the conference offered a platform for networking and exchange of ideas, bringing together experts from academia, government and industry worldwide in a concerted effort to find innovative solutions and forge collaborations for the advancement of the field.

Real estate is close to the hearts of Singaporeans and many people in Asia and around the world, as well as an issue of interest for academics and the government, said Guest-of-Honour Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister of Finance. He detailed three areas in real estate that the government is currently looking into — how to optimise and ensure the best use of land, how to ensure the affordability of housing, and enhancing the value of real estate.

“Increasingly, real estate is not just about bricks and mortar. It is also about the full suite of urban solutions that can contribute towards greater value for customers and better urban living for people. This is where innovation and technology are not just disruptors, but they also open up many new opportunities,” said Mr Wong.

There are many areas for interdisciplinary research, Mr Wong continued.  “The traditional areas in real estate have been in business, finance, architecture, engineering. But with the broader suite of urban solutions, then you also have to think of urban designers, social scientists, economists. These are people who can think of behavioural responses — how design interacts with human behaviour, how better design of buildings and infrastructure shape human behaviour and responses,” he said.

The inclusion of the word ‘urban’ in the Institute’s new name reflects the broadened scope of its research, covering urban issues in the context of cities and the entire built environment, and hence enabling a more holistic perspective and approach to real estate research.

The event also saw the launch of the Institute’s rebranded name and focus. Established in 2006 and formerly known as the NUS Institute of Real Estate Studies, the Institute does multidisciplinary fundamental and applied research in real estate and related fields.  

“The inclusion of the word ‘urban’ in the Institute’s new name reflects the broadened scope of its research, covering urban issues in the context of cities and the entire built environment, and hence enabling a more holistic perspective and approach to real estate research,” said Dr Seek Ngee Huat, Chairman of IREUS.

The Institute is acutely aware of the need to deepen and widen the scope and substance of its work to reflect the realities of a fast-changing world, he said. “In today’s context, with big data analytics and property technologies, now called Proptech, the role of IREUS is further expanded. There will be much to do to further understand new complexities and to search for new opportunities and to find solutions to overcome new challenges,” Dr Seek added.

Besides technology, macro trends such as changing demographics, an ageing society, climate change, socio-economic tensions, geo-political re-branding will continue to impact the way people live, work and play, as well as provide rich areas of research for IREUS.

As part of the launch, the Institute also unveiled three new projects — an interactive spatial real estate price heat map, an automated indicative real estate value model, as well as risk premium measures for Singapore’s real estate investment trusts.

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(From left:) Dr Seek, NUS President Prof Tan, Mr Wong and IREUS Director Assoc Prof Sing Tien Foo at the event