Building Our Future

Susan Freeman | Partner, Mishcon de Reya

August 21, 2018
Building Our Future
Susan Freeman | Partner, Mishcon de Reya
Chapters
Building Our Future
Susan Freeman | Partner, Mishcon de Reya
Aug 21, 2018
Bert Broadhead / Susan Freeman
How can collaboration improve the real estate industry?
Show Notes Transcript

How can collaboration improve the real estate industry? The view from one of the UK property sector's great generalists on the state of the market and the way ahead...

Susan Freeman is a partner at the law firm Mishcon de Reya. Susan hold a business degree from London Business school and a is well known as a proponent of innovation in real estate. Described by Bisnow as one of the best-connected lawyers in the sector, Susan is one of the most followed real estate twitter users in the UK – you can follow her activity on @propertyshe

Susan is a member of the Mishcon Tech Group, whose MDR LAB runs an incubator programme for legal tech start-ups and she also mentors for Pi Labs PropTech start-up accelerator.

Susan is on the advisory boards of Seaforth Land and Work.Life (please ignore my pronunciation - it's "work life", no dot!) and chairs the new property group at Bee London. She is also a member of the London Chamber of Commerce Property & Construction Committee and has recently been included in Bisnow's 51 Most Influential Women in Real Estate List.

In this podcast:

  1. How to make Twitter work for you to build networks & gain industry insight
  2. The importance of collaboration in the real estate industry & whether or not we can over-do it
  3. Is technology being embraced sufficiently by property companies?
  4. Assessing the development of the concept of the "ideal" workplace & the race for talent
  5. Space as a Service
  6. The future of the retail market
  7. The benefits of incubating industry tech start-ups

This episode is brought to you in partnership with Women Talk Real Estate, who connect female real estate professionals with speaking and media opportunities across Europe and provide training for successful stage and media presence.

Bert Broadhead:
0:07
I'm Bert Broadhead and a big welcome to another summer edition of Building Our Future, the podcast where we meet the people shaping the way we design, construct and utilise our built environments today. I was lucky enough to track down one of the industry's preeminent lawyers who's also immersed in a huge array of other real estate-focused initiatives: as a leading light in spreading news of industry innovation by twitter, but also practising what she preaches when it comes to collaboration. Susan Freeman is a fascinating port of call when it comes to checking the pulse of the industry and then gaining a macro perspective on how change is developing. As befitting a passionate generalist, we cover a huge array of topics; from using social media for business purposes to the evolution of space-as-service and Susan's rock-fast belief in the need for collaboration, the future of retail, the ideal workplace, and even how to nurture tech startups within your business. As ever, show notes are available on our website, BuildingOurFuture.net where there are plenty of other links to further resources and other things we talked about during the episode. Don't forget to sign up to our newsletter; we will keep you abreast of new content available to download on the podcast.
Bert Broadhead:
1:26
My guest today, Susan Freeman, partner of law firm, Mishcon de Reya. Susan holds a business degree from London business school and is well known as a proponent of innovation in real estate and described by Bisnow as one of the best connected lawyers in the sector. Susan is one of the most followed real estate twitter users in the UK. You can follow her activity on there @propertyshe. Susan is a member of the Mishcon Tech Group, whose MDR lab, runs an incubator program for legal tech startups and she also mentors for Pi labs' PropTech startup accelerator. Susan is on the advisory boards of Seaforth Land and work.life and chairs the property group at Bee London. She's also a member of a London Chamber of Commerce Property and Construction Committee and has recently been included in Bisnow's fifty one most influential women in real estate.
Bert Broadhead:
2:20
Susan, welcome to the program.
Susan Freeman:
2:21
Thank you. Thank you for that.
Bert Broadhead:
2:23
That's quite an extensive, but also quite a varied cv so, by way of introduction, before we just jump straight in, I'd love to know how your career has ended up taking the path that it has and and at what stage you branched off from the more conventional legal route.
Susan Freeman:
2:41
That an interesting question to start with. Yes. I spent several years as a transactional property, a lawyer and I joined as a partner in 1995 and - to be fair - I've always been really interested in business development as well as well as real estate, so a few years into my time here at Mishcon's, I decided to take a sabbatical, but rather than taking a year off travelling, I decided to go to London Business School and do the Sloan masters program, which I think, had I realized what I was getting myself into, I might have thought twice about it. People who do the Sloane describe it as trying to get water from a fire hydrant because it's such an intensive course and you do a normal two year MBA course effectively in a year. So there is just so much information. I mean, it's fascinating, it's challenging, but quite terrifying and I think I came out of that year realising that I'm absolutely passionate about the real estate sector that the sector is, or certainly was then, very much behind the curve in terms of innovation. I felt that I wanted to do what I could to sort of try and push the envelope a little, carrying on with what I was doing in real estate with clients, but I just felt that actually getting involved in some of these issues would be helpful for the clients and helpful for the business. So that, that's really where it started.
Bert Broadhead:
4:11
Did you always have the intention of going back into law post MBA?
Susan Freeman:
4:15
I have to say I had a completely open, open mind and the thing I suppose that really struck me and surprised me was how passionate I was about real estate. And the thing that upset me a little bit about being in the business school community in London Business School is one of the world's top business schools was the lack of interest there in what was going on in the real estate sector. So we would be looking at some change management case studies which would be all around increasing productivity and changing the culture of a business, but nobody was at all interested in who actually made that happen and who created places. So one of the things I did when I finished at London business school was to try and highlight that and see whether we could build bridges between the real estate sector and the business school. And I think one of my first columns for Property Week at the time was very helpfully headed memo to Sir John, because John Ritblat was then on the board of the governing body of London business school. And I thought that would be an interesting conversation to have.
Bert Broadhead:
5:23
This is something we're going to pick up on later but it's interesting already at that stage you're clearly keen on the concept of collaboration, so we will come back to that. Tech-led property innovation is clearly your thing - I can say as a a newfound member of the twitter community - and pretty influential member, i must say with my 50 followers with very much my finger on the pulse... a little bit embarrassing compared to you - you do have a proper following and I suppose you've been one of a) the first, but b) the most successful embracer's of social media as a means to get your message across. Firstly, why? What's the aim?
Susan Freeman:
6:03
To be fair, I think I probably wasn't one of the first in and I remember people like Tom Bloxam at urban splash talking to me about tweeting and retweeting and I actually didn't know what he was talking about. I think it was probably about seven years ago. I was writing a regular column for Property Week and Giles Barry, who was the editor then, suggested that I had a look at twitter and I, I was a little bit disparaging about it and said, why? You know, I thought, you know, he's just got it. Why would I look at twitter and he said, just have a look and I, I realized that it was the most amazing source of information. So my intention was really just to use it for that and not get involved in any conversations. I think that lasted all of about five minutes because as soon as I saw what was being said, I wanted to get involved in the discussion. So I started and at the time you start, you don't have any followers and you wonder where they're going to come from. And I just found a, it was a really good source of information and b) I was effectively meeting, albeit virtually, like-minded people who were interested in the same sort of areas that, that I was interested in.
Bert Broadhead:
7:13
As a longtime cynic, i basically only joined to get the word out about the podcast a little bit, I have been pleasantly surprised. My rules, which I'm determined to stay to are to only talk about property and not go down the politics road. Keep it, keep it nice and friendly. But it has been amazing how many business contacts -and I don't mean that in a kind of cringy way - but things that I'm working on where someone's popped up and I've been like, oh wow, that could be a really useful piece of innovation I might be able to use or someone who's consulting on something which could be great to use. It is kind of a good way of just seeing what's out there.
Bert Broadhead:
7:51
A question I was asking Matt Partridge of Infabodae last week is how do you stop yourself from drowning in content and, and use your time most efficiently.
Susan Freeman:
8:02
I'll give you one of my secrets, which is it's very important to have have lists. I couldn't possibly devote the time to, uh, follow everything that comes through my timeline. So I have got some clearly defined lists. So for instance, there's news list, press list, property lists. So if I've been in meetings for an afternoon, I want to know actually what's been happening in the world, it's the news list. If I want to catch up on what's been going on in real estate; property list.
Bert Broadhead:
8:33
well, if anyone listening who feels like twitter could be a useful, a useful avenue to explore, do check it out and have a look at a Susan's handle, which is @propertyshe. It's as good a place as any to get going and you will see all the various retweets and what-have-you, which will point you off in all sorts of interesting new ideas and themes to explore.
Susan Freeman:
8:53
Thank you, Bert for that endorsement.
Bert Broadhead:
8:56
My pleasure.
Bert Broadhead:
8:56
So, one of the interesting things from reading or following you on your twitter profile is that you've a finger on the pulse of lots of different things across the industry and it's clear that, you take an interest in very broad view - a generalist, which is great because you do have a slightly different perspective to other people we may speak to. You're clearly a big proponent of collaboration and, we've already touched on this, but what do you really mean? What's the driving force?
Susan Freeman:
9:26
That really came about? It started probably I think four years ago from UK when we had protestors outside who clearly weren't very keen on property developers and we were inside around table and we came to the conclusion that what we were saying, as as as part of the real estate sector, wasn't that different from what the protesters outside were saying. It was just that we weren't getting our messages across and we were talking about the fact that the man in the street, who doesn't really know the property sector, all they would tend to see is the rich lists and really not know enough about the positive things that the sector does in terms of creating great places. So one of the things that came out of that was the collaborators' initiative with the Estates Gazette and the idea of that was to promote and reward collaboration.
Susan Freeman:
10:20
And what we had in mind at that time was collaboration between the public and private sector, because we felt very much that in order to really develop to create more housing, we needed to encourage local authority and other public sector bodies to work with the private sector. That's how it started and actually, when you start looking at collaboration and looking to promote it, you see it, you see it everywhere. So now we've talked about about tech and another important collaboration is between the real estate sector and the tech community. That also comes under the umbrella of collaboration. So it has become - and somebody asked me recently if I'd actually trademarked the word collaboration - because the collaboration hashtag does come up a lot, but I think it's important .
Bert Broadhead:
11:12
if you look at what's happened in recent years, the defined silo of a real estate industry seems to have broken down a little bit. So there now is a convergence with the tech industry and I don't know whether that's just a change across all sectors or whether that is just a result of good collaboration coming more to the fore.
Susan Freeman:
11:32
Well, I think it's, it's happening across across the board and many people would say that the real estate sector has been a little late to the party. I think most people have now realized that the world is changing very, very fast and that technology can help us work more efficiently. So for instance, the Future PropTech conference this year, I think there were about 2,000 delegates. That has grown exponentially over a few years, but is really indicative of the fact that people working in real estate want to understand what's out there and, you know, they want to work with technology to improve the way they do things.
Bert Broadhead:
12:19
You have firsthand experience of this through, through your role at work.life. This is effectively serviced offices, or what used to be known as service sources and are now weren't known as co-working or flexible space. In the context of what we were just discussing about finding that balance between collaboration and quiet time, are we getting closer to finding if there is an ideal solution or is this just horses for courses?
Susan Freeman:
12:47
People work differently. Um, you know, different organizations have had different requirements and if you go to, uh, to work.life or other coworking spaces, you will find, you know, a combination of different types of space. So there will be meeting rooms, there will be open areas and people have to adapt to what they, what they need and any one particular organisation will have different requirements at different times if there's a big project going on and you want to get your team together, you need the space in which to do that. There'll be other times where people are writing up reports and they need to be sitting quietly to do that. For instance, I know I brought you through our our lounge area really quickly, but when we at Mishcon moved into Africa House, we deliberately designed the ground floor as a client business area with a coffee bar in the middle. So it's all informal. It's like a hotel lounge. So a lot of our informal client meetings are held there. We have the more formal meeting rooms as well. But it is a great way of working. Not to say you won't have all your meetings in the lounge area, but equally you don't want to have all your meetings in a boardroom with a table. So I think that flexibility allows us really to work in the way that we need to work. The clients really seem to like it. They feel very relaxed and they'll come in and sit there and use the facilities.
Bert Broadhead:
14:20
Co-working, or whatever we want to call it, is symptomatic of a wider shift in real estate from property owners focusing on tenants to the end user as well as the intermediary. some see this as democratization of built environment. Do you think this is a result of emerging technologies and the entrance of PropTech into the mainstream industry? Or is this the result of a changing mindset?
Susan Freeman:
14:48
One thing I was very aware of when I came out of the business experience where I'd spent a year and a half focusing on customer service and I came out and I looked at my sector and I said, well actually does anybody know who the customer is? And it was still at a time where we had landlord, we had tenant and we very rarely did we actually, I think we started using the word occupier but not customer. And then we had the disappearance, if you like, of the institutional lease. So for a long time, I think the reason the sector didn't concentrate on a customer was that you would go onto lease for 20 years, 25 years and you might see your tenants at rent review, but you really didn't need to see them again until the end of the lease. So there was actually no incentive to keep the customer happy or to make sure that the, you know, the customer remained in place after the lease came to an end that's gone. So if you own a property, you want to provide the best experience for your tenant occupier customer. So I think that's really been quite a driver in terms of how we look at the customer in real estate.
Bert Broadhead:
16:00
I you look, or if you think about the big institutional occupiers who want really bespoke product, no one's going to build that for them on a five year, 10 year lease. That's only ever going to make sense if they're committed to the long term. So there's always going to be that piece between - unless people are prepared to do it on their own balance sheets - if you want big and you want bespoke, you're going to have to sign up long term when you...
Susan Freeman:
16:23
it's a combination. But, you know, if you go back a few years, the norm was the long lease. Now people are looking at flexibility and saying, well actually yes, we like what, maybe take some longterm space here, but we'd also like short term more flexible space in, in other places. If you look across the retail, you've got the emergence of popups and wanting to provide more experience in shopping areas in town centers. So it's actually, it's quite, it's quite a good thing that property owners and property managers are having to think about what's going to keep the customer happy and the customer can be the tenant occupies. Plus, you know, if you've got a retail centre, it's the end consumer as well. So, I think that's changed. And then you have got obviously the sharing economy, which has I think make people think a lot more.
Susan Freeman:
17:20
Do they need to own something, you know, are they happy just to, to share it to they need to own a car or can they get an uber? And I think that's permeated everything. So it's, I think it's a combination of things and then, you know, if you shift across to residential built around, we didn't have a, an institutional rental sector and now that is being created and, for many people, it's becoming a lifestyle choice. They don't necessarily want to own their own home. They'd rather invest in something else and have the flexibility of living, you know, if they want to live next door to where they're working or they just want to shift to a different part of town. They're not stuck with the mortgage and the illiquidity of owning a home. So it's, it's happening across the board.
Bert Broadhead:
18:08
One of the things that underpins all of this, which interests me, is the diminishing importance of location, where it used to be the famous tenet and now you've got so many different ways of measuring performance of a property beyond just,what's the rent next door, next door building. So if you take an office, how productive is your workforce? We're not there yet, but there are now ways of measuring how healthy your workforce are, how happy are they, how many sick days are they taking, what's the quality of light? You've got all these different factors. So comparing buildings because of what's next door, or what have you, is becoming more and more complicated and people more likely to stay for many different reasons beyond just how close you are to a tube or whatever it may be. A well designed building can now more easily compensate for this lack of ideal location.
Susan Freeman:
19:02
One of the themes is that businesses are going to be competing for talent and for the best, the best people. And I was actually a on a London business school course a couple of weeks ago and one of the professors was describing the way a corporate would be acting would be like a talent agency to actually attract the best talent and then use that talent around projects in a different way than the way we worked before. So the building, the environment's everything that you can provide for the people that you're emplying is going to make it a more attractive work place. Now I think location does have, I mean it's got to be connected, it's got to be connected. So I think the important thing is the tube connections. So if it's easily accessible, it's great space, you've got outdoor space, you've got a collaborative space. I think all that will help. And the other theme actually, which goes with that, is continuous learning in the pursuit of the top talent. I think that businesses are going to have to actually provide ongoing learning for the people that are working for them. obviously money is a factor, but I think people are gonna want more than just just the money. One of the things that we have here at Mishcon de Reya is our academy, which is achieving almost, I mean, it's like a university. The idea is that we'll be continuing learning all across the firm and uh, it is not necessarily legal related. It relates to all sorts of aspects and is very, I mean it's important and we've had huge take up for that.
Bert Broadhead:
20:41
Something you've touched upon, but if we, if we talk about seismic industry shifts, it would be remiss to not talk about, retail. So, amidst talk of a retail apocalypse, which way's the sector heading.
Susan Freeman:
20:55
I think you could put me down as an apocalypse denier. I mean, it's something that I've written about from time to time and I'd rather like the Sir Terry Farrell view of it. His view is the high street over the centuries has always reinvented itself and it is going through a period of reinvention. I think it's a question of really looking at what people want. I think one of the themes that comes up quite a lot is loneliness and I think people need that community centre back in their life. And obviously work is part of that, but it can't just be work. So, people want somewhere where they can go where they can sit, where they can meet people. The problem has been we've had too much retail. We probably relied too heavily on, on retail for our shopping centers and high streets.
Susan Freeman:
21:47
Again, if you're living in shared accommodation, you're not going to want to go out and buy loads of furniture and clothes and things because you haven't necessarily got a anywhere to put it, but you want to go out and enjoy trying a new bar or restaurant or, or seeing something that you can experience. I mean this whole experience thing has been going for quite a long time. In fact, it was one of the drivers that sent me in the direction of the business school because everybody was talking about the experience economy and actually it's not that new, but I think the realization that people don't want to just go and buy clothes. They want to see new things. They want things that are sort of stimulating and I think it's going to be a real mixture of civic experience and what we already have in shopping centres and in the high street.
Bert Broadhead:
22:43
Yeah. My experience is, I think it's quite easy to take a view as someone in an urban setting. You read the papers and sales falling everywhere and spending down. But actually you go to the majority of town centers and they're still bustling. That might be slightly less than a couple of years ago and people might be spending less, but people still visit town centers. The key is what are they going to be doing now? And fine, it may be less shopping because of the internet, but people still need a place to congregate, socialize, spend the weekends. What have you to do then is just make sure that the offer matches the desire.
Susan Freeman:
23:20
Yes. And I know there's been a real sort of uptick in markets for instance, and if you get a good market in a town centre, selling food and local produce that people want, I mean that creates, a real buzz. So there are things to do. I know there are issues around it, I think it can be improved. I mean we could get into the era of business improvement districts and what business improvement districts can do where you have fragmentation of shopping centres
Bert Broadhead:
23:52
I would like to get into that, but very specifically because you have firsthand experience of a BID and, if any of your aren't familiar with them, they are business-led and business-funded bodies, formed for the purpose of improving a defined commercial area. This is a real collaboration between various stakeholders normally within town centres I suppose. And the idea being that you have a budget which people contribute to and you make improvements which are agreed upon for the greater good. Did it work?
Susan Freeman:
24:24
It's working very well. Yes. I like to refer to BIDs as the ultimate collaboration because it takes the local authority to work with local businesses and for the property owners to get involved as well. Because most of our high streets are fragmented, they have many different owners and unless you have some sort of body that brings them together, it's difficult to change strategy. And one of the things I've written about recently is the great estates. And, and for instance, the de Walden estate and Marylebone High Street being able to completely reinvigorate that because they own the high street. And the crown estate has done a fantastic job with Regent street, but most high streets aren't like that. And it's a question of whether we can give local authorities additional powers or whether we can turbocharge business improvement districts, give them additional powers - CPO - to enable them to change things. So I think that's something we should look quite carefully at is technology helping this collaboration within BIDS.
Bert Broadhead:
25:36
So the idea is that you no longer have to maybe meet in a town hall or whatever once a quarter as there's now online tools?
Susan Freeman:
25:47
yes, there's website and there's apps. But I think nothing quite beats actually getting people around the table together to say, well, okay, what are the issues, what can we do about this? And also part part of the BID activity is getting people together, getting local businesses together. So, you can't totally rely on the technology.
Bert Broadhead:
26:08
You have helped create for the Mishcon technology group - well, you've worked on the technology group.
Susan Freeman:
26:15
I would like to claim credit but no. We a, we have a terrific and incredibly talented team here who have been working on that for some time. So I'm just involved on the periphery is trying to tell the world how wonderful it is.
Bert Broadhead:
26:34
Do you end up using some of the companies that you're incubating or is this more of a VC endeavor? What's the strategy?
Susan Freeman:
26:45
It's very much two way in terms of the incubator: that we want to work with the companies that have got an interesting idea that we feel will translate really well to the world of legal services. They will come in and work collaboratively with us for a very intense 10 week period. They learn from the experience of working with a big law firm. They can test ideas, we can give them feedback. So the project at the end of the 10 week period when we do the Demo Day has been honed and it's, it's just so interesting hearing from both sides how it's helped them working together. I think we've invested in two of the startups from the first cohort. We have just got to the end of our period with the second second cohort. So some of them are real estate related, some of them relate to other, other practice areas in the firm. The one that I've worked most with is from our first cohort last year, which is orbital witness that sort of three young space scientists who use technology to help with property searches and it's satellite imagery and we are using it very productively on all our searches. Real estate searches now is quite remarkable because for instance, you're buying a property, you want to know when it was built, extended, when you know something was done to it, uh, you can actually look at the satellite imagery if it's available going back from month to month, year to year and see exactly when the work was done and it's remarkable. So, that's something that practically we're able to use and it's working really well.
Bert Broadhead:
28:34
I think I've seen a version of that or something very similar to that. The thing that blew me away was the ability to track effectively, housing development, single family, from space and monitor live, using AI, at what stage each house was at. So whether it was just at slab, or walls going up, roof on and being able to give you a full breakdown of scheme by scheme with these housing projects
Susan Freeman:
28:59
and it certainly streamlined the way we work. it's also the platform now link straight into the land registry, straight into sort of local authority. So you can do your searches as your looking at the imagery
Bert Broadhead:
29:16
This is a fuzzy question, but I've seen, I'm sure most people are aware of leases being extracted by AI; that may be the wrong verb, but I'm sure you know what I mean. How far do you think we're away from that being, being done on a really accurate scale?
Susan Freeman:
29:34
We're not at the stage yet where you can take your AI program out of the box and say, right, check the rent review clause. So it's early days. We're, we're using programs pretty extensively now. But you have to teach the programme. You have to actually, it's only as good as the information you feed into it and you know, the more use it, the better it performs. But we're certainly using these programs extensively on large portfolio transactions, but not necessarily, obviously you can't ask them to go to go through the leases and then produce reports, but if you are looking, for instance, on the rights of light situation, we've used it pretty extensively at early stage so that we can check all the titles to see where we are likely to have some sort of problem. And that's very helpful for the client because you can see immediately how extensive the problems likely to be.
Bert Broadhead:
30:30
Could you check for example, whether leases are contracted outside of the Act?
Susan Freeman:
30:35
Yeah. Because you will check for the clause in the lease that says it is. So. Absolutely. So that's important. The client wants to know right at the outset how many, how many leases are contracted out. Absolutely, you could look for that.
Bert Broadhead:
30:52
And do you feel that you're at the forefront in terms of your adoption of technology within, within your legal work?
Susan Freeman:
30:59
Most of the larger firms are, in different ways adopting new technology, I think will doing it maybe slightly, slightly different, but you know, it's something we decided some years ago. It was something that we needed to do. I think the role of the professional is evolving and changing and it's an interest to us and our clients that we can perform our role more efficiently and that's what's happening at the moment. It's exciting, it's really exciting and it's sort of enabling us to produce a new programs that we can use internally. For instance, we can now map visually, a client's property portfolio so you can see exactly where each property is, when it was bought, whether there are any particular issues. And it's great to be able to see that visually.
Bert Broadhead:
31:58
That was a very modest: " Yes, we are at the forefront"! Right. So we're onto my final two questions, which are; what's your favourite building?
Susan Freeman:
32:11
I think I would have to say the Shard just having been in that building shortly after it was completed on a very, I mean beautiful, sunny, clear autumn day and being able to see out for him and they say 30 miles, I don't know. And actually I've got a photograph of that visit with the late Irvine sellar and I think it just is quite a testament to him that he managed to get through all the planning and all the restrictions and get this beautiful building built
Bert Broadhead:
32:42
An the second question, which is which innovation or technology that we come across in our business kind of excites you?
Susan Freeman:
32:51
I'm looking forward to the, um, the driverless car. And what amazes me is that technology is pretty close and yet you talk to people who are very much in that area and you'd say, well, do we know whether we're still going to need car parks or are they going to be on a permanent loop? And I'm a parent. We don't seem to quite know how. It's how it's going to work, but I think that's going to be quite exciting. And, and then the other one I quite like is the, is the drone that you can program to just follow you. And I had this idea I have not been able to cycle into work because I always have bags and books and make up and everything and I thought perhaps with this drone carrying everything, you know, I'd be freed up to cycle. So I'm quite looking forward to that.
Bert Broadhead:
33:36
I haven't heard of this - it's amazing! so you can run to work or your, your personal porter drone? Well, that is something to get excited about because I was really excited about driverless cars and then I had a Nathan Koren on this podcast and, he's a transport engineer, architect, just general genius, and he kind of killed the dream for me.
Susan Freeman:
34:00
Why?
Susan Freeman:
34:00
Well because he has view which I can't really give reasonable voice to it but it made a lot of sense at the time is that a lot of problems we think they're going to solve they're not really. And what they're likely to do is just move traffic from one area to another.
Susan Freeman:
34:18
Well, this is what, this is what I'm worried about when I was told by an expert that we don't know yet how it's going to work. We don't know whether somebody is going to keep their driverless car circling around the restaurant for three hours while they have dinner or whether the driver's car is then going to go back in the pool and a service somebody else. So there does seem to be quite a lot of uncertain. And then all the ethical problems, you know, who decides who they are.
Bert Broadhead:
34:45
Right? Nathan Koren also worked on the Heathrow Pod, which I hadn't heard of but you seen those little autonomous vehicles. So he worked on that. And apparently the difference between having that kind of system and something which can intuitively understand about a dog running out in front of a car and all of that is.. it's one thing being close to it. And it's another thing trying to close off that gap.
Bert Broadhead:
35:09
But we still have a dream of porter drones.
Susan Freeman:
35:13
So these porter drone being weighed down by all my bags and clothes and shoes. Yeah, that's fine.
Bert Broadhead:
35:21
That's enough to keep me happy. Thank you very much for coming on the show. It's been fascinating to hear your views and again you can follow Susan on @propertyshe.
Bert Broadhead:
35:38
It's hard to conclude an interview with such diverse topics except to say that throughout the life of Building our Future, we've heard plenty of common themes, space-as-a-service, collaboration and community and it's clear from speaking to Susan that these are industry wide trends. Howw we do things is changing and how we learn about that change is also developing. Last episode, we spoke with Matt Partridge of Infabode which I'd highly recommend as a means of customizing your newsfeed. This week. If you haven't already, give twitter a go. Again, it's free. Like Susan, you may be pleasantly surprised where it leads you. If anything we discussed today resonated, do let me know via the link on the website or via twitter. My handle is at @building_our. it's always great to hear feedback and it really helps dictate the direction and future interviewees. I will be back shortly once I'm back from what feels like a long overdue holiday, but do please subscribe or sign up via our website for further news about future episodes and if you haven't already been away. Very happy holidays.
×

Listen to this podcast on