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In this, our annual Horizon Scanning publication, we aim to inform a global readership of some key themes which we think will shape the year ahead for UK real estate.
In terms of the year just passed, however, it strikes me that 2020 has been a year of contradictions and juxtapositions, with plenty of positives alongside the negative.
It’s been a year in which we have been reminded of our vulnerability, both in terms of our physical and mental health as well as our economic well-being. But in return, it’s been a year in which many found strength; the courage and care shown by front line health and other key workers has been humbling to see and truly inspirational.
It’s been a year in which macro-trends have accelerated (logistics, technology and ESG-related themes grew stronger; high street retail withered). But at the same time as that acceleration happened, some people have experienced a welcome deceleration and re-balancing of their work and home lives.
It's been a year in which the way we connect and collaborate with clients and colleagues has been challenged, but it has resulted in a huge leap forward in how we use technology and what was once felt to be impossible or impractical (video calls, digital signatures, full-time remote working) has not just become possible, but part of everyday working life. Technology has undoubtedly helped but we are learning its limits and there is no complete substitute for face to face contact and collaboration.
It's too early to say if 2021 will be as inconsistent as 2020 but, come what may, I hope the following pages offer some useful insights with which to face whatever inconsistencies the year ahead may lay before us.
Best wishes for a steady and successful 2021.
UK Real Estate Horizon Scanning 2021
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