An alternative annual property exhibition and conference which aims to tackle how the UK property industry will meet international sustainability goals and translate the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda into action has been announced today (17 September).
Held along Brighton’s seafront, the event will bring together developers, local authorities, fund managers, property lawyers, architects, and government organisations from across the UK.
Those organising the FOOTPRINT event include Tim Pyne, founder of 100% Design, and an exhibition designer for the Millennium Dome; Sophie LawSmith, founding director of Design Brighton, and architect Emily Day. The four-day exhibition has received cross-party support from politicians.
FOOTPRINT will be held in September 2021, subject to approval from Brighton and Hove City Council.
The event was conceived as a “response to international trade shows that in flights alone consume tens of thousands of tonnes of carbon”. It the event also aims to be “an opportunity to re-evaluate trade fairs in light of climate change and Covid-19”. Held in the UK in naturally ventilated low-carbon marquees, the conference aims to meet carbon neutral targets in everything from its construction and location through to its waste policy, offering an inspiring industry event in an innovative format.
FOOTPRINT will create a platform for discovery, discussion and exploiting opportunities for carbon reduction in the built environment. Through a programme of exhibitions, live launches, speaker events and high-level round-table discussions, the event will focus on how to deliver on carbon targets and legislation, and is designed to bring developers, local authorities and the wider industry together to accelerate action against climate change.
The conference will also showcase emerging technologies for tackling the property industry’s contribution to the UK’s total carbon emissions, which is estimated to be 40%, and will provide a forum to rethink how buildings are designed, built and repurposed. The major themes for the inaugural conference will be Materials and the Circular Economy, Zero Carbon Energy and Efficient Buildings. To achieve international reach, all sessions will be livestreamed, filmed and made available to global audiences.
A strong local focus will run through the event, capitalising on the Greater Brighton region’s dedication to promoting sustainability policy and carbon-neutral infrastructure projects, as well as pioneering research and thought leadership emerging from The University of Brighton. FOOTPRINT aims to also provide an injection of investment to Brighton and Hove’s local economy of £9.5m in year one, including the creation of an estimated 129 FTE jobs, with a sustainable growth strategy in place for the future of the event.
Tim Pyne, FOOTPRINT founder and creative director, said: “Covid-19 and the climate emergency have forced us to take a national approach to international issues. It has also given us a chance to reexamine and readdress how and where we organise trade fairs, so the exchange of ideas they enable can still be made possible. Improved communication between local authorities and developers over carbon legislation, and shared knowledge about how to deliver carbon reduction targets will be at the heart of the event”.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “We are pleased to offer our support for FOOTPRINT. A UK-focused show providing a much-needed platform to discover, discuss and exploit opportunities for carbon reduction in the built environment is essential. Our city is the perfect place to showcase it. We have an ambitious local environmental target of a zero-carbon footprint by 2030. The built environment poses an enormous challenge in achieving this, so an educational conference which can provide a roadmap to achieving this is to be embraced”.
A fringe programme of events and installations running alongside FOOTPRINT will celebrate urban design, curated by Design Brighton 1.5° in collaboration with local businesses, students and residents. The fringe events will include Open Studios, architectural tours, talks, site visits, design competitions, business-led networking events and collaborations with Greater Brighton MET college and the University of Brighton.
Sophie Law-Smith, founding director of Design Brighton, said: “FOOTPRINT will provide us with an expansive and truly international platform to showcase the innovation, creativity and collaboration the Greater Brighton region is demonstrating in order to achieve its own 2030 zero-carbon ambition”.
Gavin Stewart, executive director of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said: “As the city moves to create the ‘new normal’ post-Covid, we have an unprecedented opportunity to rewrite the rules around our environmental impact on the planet. This conference not only does that, but also will help the economy rebuild with a total direct and indirect spend of £9.5m in year one increasing to £19m after year five. As well as creating around 129 FTE jobs in year one, rising to 259 after year five”.