This paper focuses on what real estate comprises, its forms of value in the 21st century and project management’s role and potential in strategic and front-end issues. The broad definition of real estate used is examined through the lens of current challenges and foreseeable major change drivers. Critical realism and engaged scholarship are employed to consider a wide range of primary data generated from multiple practitioner engagement exercises. This process has revealed eight themes that relate to real estate in the 21st century: 1. Digital Disruption, 2. Health and Wellbeing, 3. Learning Environments, 4. Accessible and Affordable Housing, 5. Beyond Placemaking, 6. Resilience, 7. Infrastructure Interfaces, 8. Community Inclusion. The value proposition of this paper is to illustrate the relevance and contribution of project management to real estate and to consider the implications from the proposed set of eight highly relevant, cross-cutting themes. Within the six principal implications identified, we show how project management in the 21st century needs to be more strategically focused and front-end orientated on issues that have been considered beyond the domain of traditional, technocentric and execution-orientated project management. These six implications are presented within the context of two forms of real estatecontext: that real estate which already exists and that real estate yet to becreated. While dominated by engagement with UK expertise, it is anticipated that the paper will be of interest to a global audience.
Keywords: Twenty first century real estate, project management's role, grand challenges, rethinking real estate, UN SDGs