Last week, Global Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell and Vice-Chair of the Illinois REALTORS® Global Business Council, Vicky Sampah joined Janet Branton, senior vice president of Global and Commercial Services for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Judith Hermanson of IHC Global, a non-profit housing coalition started in part by the NAR, for a three-day session put on by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
It is called the Chicago Forum on Global Cities. Each year, the forum brings together global leaders in business, education, civics and the arts for an integrated, cross-sector dialogue on the power and limitations of global cities to shape the world’s future.
This session drew public sector and private industry professionals, along with academics and non-profit groups to come together and learn from leaders and experts from different countries on a variety of subjects affecting cities. Topics such as urban planning, housing supply, data/technology, immigration and migration, diversity, energy and sustainability and a plethora of other topics affecting urban areas and world-class cities throughout the globe were all addressed.
Sampah stated, “It is important for us REALTORS® to understand the global trends since some of these issues cross over and affect our markets and what our urban areas may be contemplating in the future.”
As an example, the concept of “walkability” came up at a session on Livable Cities. The mayor of Melbourne, Australia, Robert Doyle was sharing that streetscapes need to look good in order to draw people to them rather than use their car. He stated at the session, “Cities can’t just be walkable, they have to be enjoyable to walk through.” This falls into the experience economy trend that effects everything we do from drinking coffee to buying groceries.
Chicago’s own Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave the opening comments and stressed the importance of local communities taking part in global conversations. The session ended with Chicago Council on Global Affairs President Ivo Daalder stating that cities need to start getting more involved in higher level policy discussions since nation-states make policy decisions that local communities have to implement and in many cases, pay for.
Forums like these are great opportunities to network with global decision makers and industry colleagues. They also are a great place to collect and build resources that help the members of the Illinois REALTORS® Global Business Council be better partners in global real estate transactions and trusted advisors for their international clients in both the commercial and residential sectors.