The overall contention within which the thematic areas of the RICS Foundation are developed is that:
- effectively and efficiently operating land, property and construction markets
- the effective creation and use of our built and natural environment, to embrace all land use types, including physical infrastructure
can make a positive contribution to economic, social and environmental well-being. The intention is that each of the thematic areas will address this overall contention and will contribute to it. The thematic areas are as follows:
Property and people
The economic, social and environmental impact that buildings and the built environment have on their occupants and users - whether they be workers, hospital patients or home-owners - is a little understood one, but one which affects us all in our daily lives. The built environment, however, need to support and respond not just to the needs of their occupiers and users, but also need to be an attractive investment for their owners and need to be built and maintained in a cost-effective fashion. How can we ensure that buildings support all the various stakeholders in the most effective way? Is it possible to measure the impact that buildings have on our lives, and so design, develop and manage them in a way that better supports our needs?
Property and society
Towns and cities are the drivers of economic growth and wealth creation, the basis for much social and cultural creativity and activity and the centre for intellectual pursuit and development. They are also the creators of social isolation, environmental degradation and often deteriorate to become poor uses of physical and financial resources. How can we ensure that our towns and cities are able to function and produce the outputs that we want and expect from them in a sustainable fashion? Towns and cities are more than just collections of buildings but are a complex structure of buildings, infrastructure and open spaces - the interplay between these is crucial to the long-term economic, social and environmental viability of towns and cities.
Property and business
People make decisions about property - be they home-owners, investors or major occupiers - often on the basis of a limited amount of information and with an incomplete understanding of the issues that they need to consider. What are the fundamental characteristics of property as they relate to different types of business decision? What are the skills and knowledge required to help people make better decisions- both for themselves and for society as a whole?
A changing countryside
The UK countryside is going through an increased period of change, chiefly driven by the change in the primary economic activity from being agriculture to one where there is a far wider and richer range of activities - actual and potential - taking place in rural areas. Change is also being driven by changing attitudes within society as to the 'type' of countryside that they want and the way that they want it developed and managed. This has implications not only for rural areas themselves but also for the relationship between urban and rural areas. These pressures on the countryside will have profound impacts for rural land management and development.
The future of real estate markets
The real estate market is heavily influenced by trends and developments in society, the economy and the environment. The potential impact of these trends on real estate markets can be enormous, both posing threats and raising opportunities. Future sustainability - both urban and rural - depends to a great extent on being able to assess effectively the likely impact of these trends and developing appropriate responses to them, that not only seek to put in place policies and procedures that may reduce the incidence of harmful tends before they manifest themselves but also that respond to the impacts as they occur.