Edito et opinion

How Responsible
Real Estate Will
Drive the Future
of City Living

The pandemic has created greater awareness of the fragility of our society and our environment. Cities will need to double down on measures to create a more sustainable and human-centric world.

December 18, 2020

Cities are the engines of civilization. Despite occupying only 3% of the world’s landmass, more than half of the world’s population live in cities and they generate 80% of global GDP, according to the World Bank.

Cities have also been under tremendous pressure – from climate change to socioeconomic and geopolitical unrest, exacerbated recently by the global pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic has uncovered how many cities are under-prepared and under-equipped for shocks with the U.N. estimating that 95% of coronavirus cases occur in urban areas.

An Obligation for the Real Estate Industry to Act Now

The built environment accounts for about 40% of global carbon emissions, which means that the real estate industry can play a big role in bringing about a sustainable future, especially in cities hardest hit by the coronavirus. In order to adhere to the timeline put forward by the Paris Agreement to cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, there is a need for a systemic rethink at every level—from the private sector to city and national governments.

According to JLL’s Responsible Real Estate framework, this systemic change will be driven by a holistic view of the industry and its approach to the development and management of real estate assets across operational, financial and social factors at every stage.

"Our role in real estate is actually to provide facilities for human beings,” says Marie Puybaraud, JLL’s Global Head of Research Corporate Solutions. “JLL is driving forward, creating purposeful places where diverse and collaborative cultures and communities thrive."

Responsible real estate

Cities are the engines of civilization. Despite occupying only 3% of the world’s landmass, more than half of the world’s population live in cities and they generate 80% of global GDP, according to the World Bank.

The Advantage of Good Governance

Underpinning the six pillars of responsible real estate is a platform held accountable through clear governance and measurement.

The real estate industry has the opportunity and accountability to reimagine a better world through the built environment, with an urgency at the individual, company and country level.

“Major businesses will need to look beyond their workplace footprint and to recognize that they can also reshape the city,” explains Jeremy Kelly, JLL’s Research Director. “With all the pressure on our cities to transform, much greater collaboration will be required between the private sector and city governments.”

Stakeholders from every discipline - financial institutions, government and the private sector—will continue to push the industry towards positive and sustainable change that will build resilience, drive positive financial returns, and realize a human, healthy, and enriching future.

1. World Green Building Council Global Status Report, 2017
2. All high-performing buildings surpassed ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2010 minimum acceptable person ventilation requirement and with low (<250 μg/m3) total volatile organic compound concentrations.
3. Green-certified buildings were certified under the USGBC® Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED®) rating system.
4. Extreme Climate Events (defined as causing over $1B in damages) in the US through May 2020 compared to 30-year average. (6 such events through May, compared to a long run average of 10, annually.)