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Summit Series 2018: Key topics

Summit Series 2018: Key topics

Exploring the future of cities

To celebrate its 150th Anniversary, RICS will bring together thought leaders, innovators and industry stakeholders to seven major cities across the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. The Summit of the Americas Series will travel across the region bringing together thought leaders, industry experts and senior professionals to discuss topics and issues impacting our world today.

Several key topics will influence the Summit Series program, provoking debate from market leaders across the full range of property and construction professions.

The role of cities

Cities play an integral role in the global economy. For example, the GDP produced in Toronto and New York City each year represents approximately one-tenth of the national GDP of Canada and the US, respectively. Cities also drive global economic growth.

Despite the critical role of cities, they face challenges ahead. City leaders are increasingly required to react to issues such as climate change, underfunded infrastructure projects and technology disruption among many others.

Financial impact

Cities drive the economy and growth in a number of ways. Buildings themselves are not just productive but also stores of value. Investment in real estate and infrastructure is increasingly becoming an important part of pension fund portfolios, with an increased predicted real estate allocation from 9% in 2016 to 10% in 2017. A total of $435 billion in debt and equity was invested globally in real estate in 2017.


Ethics continue to be an important focus in the built environment. Few of the common challenges include unethical procurement procedures, money laundering, risks to worker and occupant health and safety, and the use of bribery and kickbacks. The importance of ethics is only magnified by the increasing amount of public and private pension funds invested in real estate and infrastructure.

The role of technology

Technology is influencing the built environment – how structures are built and valued, how facilities are maintained and managed and even how businesses are valued. With new technical innovations within the real estate and construction eco system, the profession and industry need to track, embrace and evolve with the digital disruptions


New infrastructure development and fixing existing infrastructure is a common theme across all cities. Some experts believe the funding shortfall in the US alone will approach $3 trillion in the coming years. Funding these much-needed projects is a critical issue facing our entire profession.

Resilience and sustainability

Cities face a number of environmental challenges such as water scarcity, energy, pollution and climate change. The built environment represents a major social investment, and it can play a leading role in ensuring that cities become resilient and promote sustainability.