The global cities: Continuous reinvention and implications for CRE

James Roberts, Chief Economist, Knight Frank

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Abstract: The supplanting of finance with technology, media and telecoms (TMT) firms as the driving force behind the global city economy has been the defining characteristic of the last decade. As a result, 2007 seems a long time ago in the world of corporate real estate, and so much is changing in office occupation as more firms work tech-style. Nevertheless, for the real estate professional, there are some continuous trends to inform decision making. First, there is the growing centrality of people within a services-led economy. Secondly, we have the merging of a range of influences within a CBD setting (business, culture, academia and social life), with companies under pressure from workers and business needs to be inside that melting pot. Thirdly, there is the growing acknowledgment that an office is a place from which one operates, not a self-contained working location.


Keywords: technology, media and telecoms, TMT, finance, global cities, co-working, offices, workplace, staff retention, lifestyle


James Roberts MSc Econ has worked for 23 years as a researcher and economist, with 17 of those years in the commercial real estate sector. He joined Knight Frank in 2007 as Head of Central London Office Market Research, before rising to Head of Commercial Research in 2010 and Chief Economist in 2014. He edits the Global Cities report, Knight Frank’s annual overview of the commercial property markets of 38 of the world’s leading business centres. He has served as a member of the investment committee for Knight Frank Investment Management since 2010.



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