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ERES Conference 2011: sharing knowledge in Brainport Eindhoven
Article Type: Guest editorial From: Journal of European Real Estate Research, Volume 4, Issue 3
The 18th Annual ERES Conference took place in Eindhoven, right at the heart of the most important region for research and development activities of The Netherlands. The timing of the conference was perfect. Just a few days before the conference started, the region of Eindhoven, also called Brainport, was appointed as the smartest region of the world by the Intelligent Community Forum! As the local organizer we tried to bring the innovative atmosphere of Eindhoven into the ERES Conference by selecting interesting venues like the auditorium at the Eindhoven University of Technology campus and the futuristic flying saucer the Evoluon. Nevertheless, the most important aspect of having a successful conference is a collection of high-quality papers and in-depth discussions on relevant real estate topics. The ERES Conference offers a platform for sharing knowledge between academics from all across Europe and beyond. But what we must not forget is the effect of such a conference on the local academic community and professionals working in Brainport Eindhoven itself.
This effect was reflected in the topics that were covered. In total over 300 real estate academics and professionals were gathered to attend paper presentations and panel discussions. Although the number of contributions was somewhat less than previous year, the quality and diversity was more than satisfying. Like every year the paper sessions covered well-known real estate topics such as finance and investment, valuation, housing markets and housing economics. However, the topics sustainability (or “green buildings”) and corporate real estate management gained more attention compared to previous years. This partly reflects the growing momentum of these research areas and their current social relevance. Another explanation of the increased number of papers on these topics could be found in the involvement of the host of the conference, the Department of the Built Environment of the Eindhoven University of Technology and the local real estate industry.
During the conference Sustainable Real Estate was discussed from different perspectives. In his key-note speech, Piet Eichholtz argued that sustainable real estate makes sense from a financial point of view, while during the paper sessions other sustainability-related topics were discussed, like energy certification, “green” preferences of office occupiers and environmental policies. There were also several contributions from Eindhoven University of Technology focusing on the building and user perspective of sustainability. The cross-pollination of insights and knowledge is critical in the “greening” of the existing and future building stock.
The other topic that got a lot of attention during the ERES 2011 Conference was corporate real estate. A special panel discussion on CRE in the public sector, sponsored by Coresta Institute and moderated by Juerg Bernett attracted more than 70 professionals from the Dutch industry.
To summarize, the ERES Conference in Eindhoven was highly successful continuing the tradition of previous conferences. Central to this success was the interaction between the international academic real estate society and the local academic and industrial community. Being a member of the Brainport community myself, I can conclude that from a real estate perspective our region has become even smarter from the hosting of ERES 2011.