Cityscape Global Summit Overview

The Cityscape Global Summit will take place over two days from 7th - 8th November 2021 at the Dubai Exhibition Centre (Expo 2020 site).  

As industry watchers look for the first shoots of recovery, and with the price of luxury properties increasing, giga-projects in Saudi Arabia underway, and ground breaking legacy and regeneration projects on the horizon, there is much to suggest that the Middle East is about to enter the most exciting time for real estate since the crazy days of the mid-2000s property boom.

The Cityscape Global Summit is the leading two-day real estate event, taking place at Expo 2020, and once again features international keynote speeches, panels, Q&As, and insights from the leading investors, economists, architects, designers and organisations moving the dial in the global real estate industry across residential, commercial, industrial, retail, hospitality – and beyond. 

Objectives and outcomes

The 2021 Cityscape Global Summit will mirror and address the three main sub-themes of Expo 2020 - opportunity, mobility and sustainability, with a special focus on the MENA region of the UAE, KSA, Oman, Egypt, and Bahrain. The core goals of the Cityscape Summit include:     

  • Providing the highest-level of thought leadership from across the real estate industry on the necessary steps needed to move the sector beyond recovery.    
  • Putting a macro-economic lens on the issues driving real estate development and investment across key categories around the globe in the short, mid and long-term.
  • Provoking new thinking around the role real estate can play in positively impacting the environment and local communities.
  • Setting the agenda for new initiatives and collaborations designed to create greater coordination and cooperation across the real estate industry, including across transport, hospitality and at the international level.
  • Dissecting the impact of technology and proptech on the sector.

This is the must-attend event for anyone working in real estate in the MENA region and beyond. No other event offers such premium networking opportunities along with a succinct summary of the problems facing the industry today and the opportunities available both now and in the future.


2021 themes: Opportunity, sustainability and mobility

The three main themes of Expo 2020 - opportunity, sustainability and mobility - will also run through the Cityscape Real Estate Summit. The Summit will address how these themes will affect the future of Real Estate. It will in addition consider how the industry can move to recovery and beyond with the impact of the global pandemic still felt globally.



Moving towards the safe and prosperous recovery and restart of the real estate industry in the Middle East.

To express your interest in attending our 2021 edition of Cityscape's Real Estate Summit, please click here


Katie Jensen, Dubai One Presenter


Host's Welcome Remarks

Welcome to Cityscape Global Summit 2021. 

Chris Speller, Cityscape Group Director


Keynote Welcome Address


Government Perspectives: The new vision and roadmap for institutional real estate ownership (outside of the free zones)

Government expectations and the vision around foreign investment in real estate and more.

  • Meeting the desire to attract institutional scale investment - what’s being done?
  • HNW investment in residential as a key focus area
  • To what extent is the government trying to reassure and attract foreign investors in the UAE?


Horizon-gazing: What’s the global economic outlook against a backdrop of divergent recoveries?

What are the economic forces that are filtering through the global economy, and what’s to watch on the horizon? 


Insight Session: The global real estate perspective - what now, what next?

Traditional real estate investment approaches are experiencing a continued shift, requiring investors to adopt a fresh perspective - discover how this is shaping the future of real estate.  

  • What global trends do we need to watch now?
  • How are flexible, sustainable and tech driven assets impacting the sector?
  • What is shaping the future of real estate - and how can the sector have continued resilience?


Expert Panel: Analysing institutional level transaction activity - what are the trends, opportunities, obstacles and key numbers?

This investment focused session will take a deep dive into transaction volumes at the institutional level.

  • What are the current activity levels for global real estate investment?
  • What are the big deals to watch in MENA and beyond?
  • What more, over and above the reports of the biggest agents, consultants and valuers, do institutional investors need to assist them in their investment decisions?
  • Does the current system do enough to encourage inward investment and what obstacles remain to high level foreign investment?


Category Spotlight: The latest design trends and demand and supply dynamics across the residential, commercial, retail and hospitality sectors globally

Assessing the future of investment and development across these key real estate market sectors.


Future Focus: Sustainability, business opportunity and benefit - Saudi giga-projects as catalyst for fundamental change 

The Saudi giga-projects are the most ambitious projects on earth in their innovative use of the natural landscape and the latest technology to build sustainably. Among other things, this session will consider the different project sustainability
strategies, the business opportunities and the resulting benefits for both Saudi Arabia and the world.


Lunch and Networking


In Conversation: What new opportunities are there for Residential in 2022 and beyond?

Considering the merits of the opportunities in residential, including student housing and “Live-Work-Play” communities. 

  • What is the outlook for health improvement districts in the UAE?
  • How successful have initiatives in the region to create walkable parts of cities been? 
  • What is being done in the GCC to change the mentality when it comes to sustainability?
  • Are we seeing a shift to lower density type living due to climate change and the pandemic?


Sector Spotlight: On the road to recovery - what’s the destination for tourism?

With the continued disruption to the global tourism industry in 2021, we take a look at how tourism in the MENA region can recover and what it will look like going forward. Questions to be answered include:     

  • How is tourism changing - and will it ever go back to the way it was before?
  • Has domestic tourism increased and what new opportunities does this offer?    
  • How has the pandemic impacted the airlines and the trade logistics functions? 


Sector Spotlight: Retail reimagined - global trends in the evolution of retail

Along with hospitality and tourism, retail has been the sector most directly impacted by social restrictions - coupled with already shifting retail trends, the sector continues to face challenges.

  • How has the pandemic affected the way people shop and expectations around retail?    
  • Is there still such a thing as pure retail - and what are the new market segments in retail?
  • Where in the world are these things happening already, and make financial sense?   
  • Is there a mismatch between owner expectations and the new demographics? 


Regional Focus: Abu Dhabi & Sharjah

We look here at the hottest new real estate developments in the second and third largest cities in the UAE.


Sector Spotlight: Industrial and logistics growth drivers

The logistics sector has been a standout performer throughout the pandemic, maintaining robust growth and continued demand for modern warehousing and logistics solutions. With the UAE investing £3bn into its logistics and manufacturing sector, this session will pinpoint and explore the areas that investors are looking at, including warehouses, and the rise and growing importance of logistics. 

  • Growth predictions and trends for the industrial and logistics market
  • Where does agricultural real estate fit in now?
  • What is the latest on the logistics-warehousing segment - who is taking up properties?
  • What is being done to remove the barriers faced by third-party investors - and what is affecting assessments around financial viability?


Regional Focus: Analysing Egypt’s ESG journey

This session will explore the extent to which ESG considerations are now more of a factor in investment decisions and portfolios in Egypt.


Regional focus: Oman, Israel & Qatar

We take a closer look at real estate developments in these three key countries, including where the opportunities lie for investors.


The latest on the performance of REITS in the UAE and wider Middle East

REITS were introduced to solve illiquidity in the institutional market. 

  • How successful have REITs been in the UAE and what are the latest thoughts on the new ‘Green’ REIT?
  • How does the performance of the UAE REIT regime compare to that of the Saudi REIT regime?    
  • What factors have led to the successful performance of the Saudi REITS? 
  • What is the future outlook for the REIT regime in the MENA region?


Closing In Conversation: Looking back to look ahead

Day 1 Summary remarks and look ahead to Day 2, incorporating MENA economic outlook and the vision for the future of real estate.


Closing of Cityscape Summit Day 1


Katie Jensen, Dubai One Presenter


Day 2 Opening Remarks


Expert Panel: The rise of smart cities and the latest reuse and regeneration projects in the region/UAE

This session will look at reuse and regeneration projects in the region, including the legacy masterplan for Expo 2020 (District 2020).

  • What role is real estate investment playing in smart city development - and how are smart cities changing the investment landscape?
  • What are the top smartest cities for real estate investment - and where does MENA rank?
  • Is District 2020 the first real example of regeneration or reuse in the region?
  • What other similar regional masterplans are on the horizon, including Qatar and the legacy projects after FIFA?


Flash Talk: Designing the future – real estate in the new mobility ecosystem

Developments in mobility and how we transport people and goods from a to b in new and different ways, promise to have a profound impact on the way we use and value real estate. 

  • How might mobility change attitudes and the importance of location in real estate? 
  • How might mobility impact how we view urban investable landscapes?
  • Electric vehicles - how might they impact landlords, developers and occupiers?


In Conversation: Digital twinning in real estate

The impact of the pandemic has led to an acceleration of digital transformation journeys - and a renewed impetus to accelerate. Real estate assets have progressively become ‘smarter’. Digital twins can help reimagine environments and act as a significant driver for change through the promise of powerful predictive capabilities.  

  • How might digital twins deliver the next stage of real estate innovation?
  • What can digital twins do to deliver greater strategic value for the real estate industry as a whole?
  • The promise of simulating complex scenarios - how are digital twins different to smart buildings across the lifecycle of a building/environment?
  • Use case studies


Future perspectives: How the post-pandemic living and working habits are shaping investment strategies

How do you need to reevaluate your investment strategy to take account of evolving habits and end-user demand.


Special Address: The future - but not as we know it


Networking Lunch


International case study: The Battersea Power Station masterplan

If regeneration and reuse is a typology of increasing interest, and we are now getting to a point where we are seriously talking about the adaptive reuse of urban districts in the region, what lessons can and should the UAE learn from the major success story that is the Battersea Power Station project and masterplan in this context?


Town hall: Deconstructing architecture and the future of design - concept, construction and regulation

Rethinking the spaces where our lives take place is a key feature of much architectural thinking post-pandemic, including how architecture and urban design can act to build resilience, the role of urban design, adaptive use and how the built environment can be reimagined.  

  • The extent to which sustainable materials are currently being used in construction? Are they for example changing the way architects look at façades?
  • The concept of cities for architects - understanding the value of the 15 minute city and relevance to the UAE
  • To what extent are companies engendering regulation and policy changes to reduce their carbon footprint? To what extent are we seeing companies making net zero pledges due to climate change?


Future Focus: How AI, proptech, cryptocurrencies and other technologies will change real estate as we know it

Technological innovations across AI, cryptocurrencies and the booming field of ‘proptech’ herald significant change for the real estate sector.

  • How is AI impacting the real estate sector?
  • How are technological developments in home and office automation addressing challenges within the real estate
  • Cryptocurrency applications in real estate - what do you need to know now?
  • What are the most significant developments in the ‘proptech’ space?


Closing Flash Talk: Work in progress - the new way forward for global real estate

The Cityscape Summit 2021 in review - 5 key takeaways and the new way forward.


Close of Cityscape Global Summit 2021