Note from the Editor: Summer 2020

When we published our most recent issue of Summit this past spring, the dangers and disquiet of COVID-19 were still being revealed. New investments were put on pause as we focused on near term operating and asset management issues and wondered when there might be a return to “normal.”

Now, a few months down the line, the formerly abstruse scientific language of public health is commonplace. Many of us now speak of R-values and comorbidities as casually as we talk about the weather and last weekend’s football game. And meanwhile, the short- and long-term economic implications of the global pandemic, while still imprecise, are at least better understood than they were in March, when the World Health Organization first declared the disease had reached pandemic proportions.

And though COVID-19 has upended routines at all scales, it hasn’t changed the importance and necessity of long-term thinking for sound real estate investing. But it has certainly complicated our traditional methods of understanding. So the fundamental question we asked as our editorial team planned this special, summer issue of Summit was: how do we facilitate responsible thinking about tomorrow when many (people, organizations, cities, states, and countries) are still sailing through the longest night of their lives?

As it turns out, all we needed to do was ask. After issuing a general call for contributions to for this issue of Summit, we received more submissions than ever before, and now have our largest issues to date. This not only reflects the quality of intelligence contained within AFIRE’s membership (and our other guest experts featured in this issue), but also underscores the philosophy of informed optimism that fundamentally defines our industry: we are realists, but our focus is on the future.

While each article in this issue focuses on a specific issue—infrastructure, mixed-use communities, logistics, retail, ethics, asset management, demographics, and so forth—you’ll find a common thread of futurism ties each article together to form a cohesive picture of where we are now, and where we might possibly lead our employees, investors, and communities tomorrow.

Benjamin van Loon
Communications Director, AFIRE
Editor-in-Chief, Summit
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