Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the way we need to plan and adapt our cities, our neighbourhoods and our buildings. The pandemic has revealed new expectations for where people would like to live and what types of amenities should be within walking distance.

Pooja Agrawal

Pooja Agrawal

It has thrown open the future of the traditional ‘office space’, which also has a wider impact on how places are used, for example what leisure or retail amenities are on offer and where.

As we adapt to this changing context, we need to navigate a potential period of financial hardship and economic uncertainty, while looking ahead to mitigate and adapt to an environmental crisis.

Despite this year being an incredibly challenging time for local government, local authorities have been at the front-line of the recovery, putting innovative and effective responses to the pandemic into action. Whether leading strategies to support high streets or developing policy and campaigns to counter the effects of inequality on people’s life expectancy, the work councils are doing now will set the built environment agenda for years to come.

It is critical that local government is able to access the skills and capacity to excel in this challenge, and there is huge demand within councils for experienced real estate professionals, particularly with backgrounds in economic development, sustainability and community engagement.

The speed and creativity of the public sector response to the pandemic demonstrates the unique capacity for innovation within the sector. In the three years since we were founded, Public Practice has helped professionals from a variety of backgrounds into roles with organisations and projects that represent the very best of the public sector, connecting them with new challenges that expand their skillset and networks.

Working in the public sector can be seen as slow or bureaucratic, but now more than ever it offers the opportunity to drive innovation with a strong sense of purpose. This is the time for the most talented built environment professionals to create a fairer society by driving a place-based recovery. Why not come and join us?

Pooja Agrawal is chief executive of Public Practice