23-25 May, Manchester Central

Under the banner “The Phoenix Effect”, the conference — spanning over three days in Manchester — threw open all kinds of windows onto all kinds of subjects. From the impact of the Euro crisis to the latest trends on urban dwelling, speakers and delegates got to grips with issues that are already shaping our sector. Some of the hightlights included:

Making the Grade
New research shows that a mismatch in supply and demand of office space may stunt future growth The conference saw the launch of a new report by Centre for Cities, supported by the British Council for Offices. According to the report, towns and cities which had higher rates of office based employment in 1998 performed better over the subsequent decade across a range of economic indicators. Despite this growing importance of office space in UK towns and cities, the supply of office space has not responded to demand.

Offices Should be a Vehicle for Economic Recovery
The BCO Annual Conference opened in Manchester today with a debate around the future of cities across the UK – and a call to action for the commercial property sector to consider office development as central to economic recovery.

Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, told delegates that though currently ranked 67th in the top 600 cities in the world, Manchester – like other European cities – would have to become digitally intelligent in order to continue to thrive. Read more here.

BCO Annual Conference Reflects on Impact of Interdepency Between Cities
Thierry Malleret, formerly head of the World Economic Forum, Davos, General Lord Richard Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff, and Martin Vander Weyer, Business Editor of The Spectator were brought together to debate ‘ Who’s got the money now? The new great powers’. Read the full press release on this stimulating debate here.

Future Offices Have Potential to be as Technological as Aircraft
A seminar on intelligent buildings has drawn attention to the prospect of the roll out of cutting edge smart building controls throughout the commercial property sector.

Flexibility is the Key to Survival

Tackling occupational obsolescence was identified as one of the key challenges for the commercial property sector, as delegates heard a panel of leading developers debate how to foster signs of growth with the office industry. 

BCO/PW Design Competition
Described by our panel of experts as "personable and innovative – they would certainly be the sort of people who could turn their exciting scheme into reality". The winner of the design competition was a team made up of Tilney Shane, Medland Metropolis and BG2.

Read Property Week for a full profile on the winning entry "Cotton On".

Conference Charity
This year's conference charity was Francis House Children's Hospice. Based in Didsbury, Manchester, this hospice provides care for children with life threatening conditions and support for the family.

This year's BCO Cycle Challenge saw 42 cyclists, travelling over 250 miles from London to Manchester, raising money for this worth cause. Our cyclists raised an amazing £32,000 for this very worthy cause, which was added to by delegates at the Conference Dinner. In total we were pleased to donated £38,728.20

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