Advancing the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies

The Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies exists to create entrepreneurial and ethical leaders for Canada’s real estate industry by acting as a catalyst for the development of real estate industry professionals and a leading centre of excellence for real estate studies. The next step for the Westman Centre is to expand its presence and ensure its longevity. Anchored by the real estate value chain, the Westman Centre will ensure its programs, community engagement, and research activities are comprehensive, future-focused, and impactful to the industry. This program funding will ensure the voice of industry is involved in all aspects of the centre, setting it apart from other post-secondary programs. The Westman Centre will focus on engaging students from different disciplines and faculties to create entrepreneurial and ethical leaders for Canada’s real estate industry.


Real Estate Leadership – Advance the real estate industry as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic through research and/or implementation of policy, practices, or educational initiatives.

 

Enhancing Real Estate and Land Use Planning through Urban Farming in Alberta Municipalities

Municipal decision-makers and planners recognize the key benefits in urban farming but knowledge or integration of sustainable practices with real estate opportunities is limited. Both promotion of sustainable practices and a better understanding of what occurs in urban farming in Alberta can aid cities to improve real estate values in order to attract diverse residents and maintain/improve our quality of life. This project aims to provide the real estate industry with knowledge on urban farms and the potential to maximize vacant real estate for Albertan cities. This research will benefit the real estate community by exploring alternative usages of urban spaces while improving industry and/or commercial use and the quality of life for residents in the area through policies and practices related to urban farming and sustainability.


Real Estate Leadership – Mobilize the use of under-utilized real estate inventory through research into and/or implementation of policy, practices, or projects.

Supporting Diversity through Inclusion in Commercial Real Estate

The commercial real estate industry lacks diversity. A recent study that included over 50 commercial real estate firms indicated that less than 15% of firms had diversity and inclusion programs; under 5% of companies had a budgetary item dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and only 23% of companies believed their diversity and inclusiveness efforts were effective. These statistics indicate that there is a need to make positive inroads towards fighting the systematic inequalities in the workplace and our communities.

Marginalization happens earlier on in the lives of individuals, creating barriers for potential candidates to even apply or become aware of opportunities. As it relates to real estate, rates of investment in real estate assets are lower within minority communities. The REET Institute believes that lack of awareness and access is the key reason for the lack of diversity in the industry and will address this by engaging black, indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) youth in these communities at the stage in their lives when they are making critical decisions on future career prospects. By creating a pipeline of diverse talent into the commercial real estate industry, we will be able to improve the outcomes for communities that are underrepresented in the space and improve the real estate industry by partnering with corporations to improve the different diversity and inclusion objectives.

This project is a small first step in helping the REET Institute is to develop the next generation of owners and business leaders in the commercial real estate industry by providing access to skills and resources.


Real Estate Leadership – Improve capacity and understanding of real estate professionals and/or consumers on real estate issues.

Real Estate Leadership – Advance the real estate industry as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic through research and/or implementation of policy, practices, or educational initiatives.

Protecting Real Estate Value Through Water Remediation Using Native Wetlands Plants

Phase 3A – Low-Cost Water Treatment Technology for Agricultural Real Estate

Albertans are all stakeholders in recognizing that the preservation of water, land, and environment is vital to human sustainability for generations to come. This project is a continuation of Phases I and II, both funded by the Foundation.

According to the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association, 80% of Canada’s cattle processing capacity is located in Alberta. Feedlot runoff can contain many different contaminants, including solid and dissolved organic matter, nutrients, salts, and heavy metals, among others. Conventional feedlot wastewater management often involves diverting it to a contained holding pond, where settling processes reduce high total suspended sediment loads, which is critical for reducing the concentration of nutrients. Constructed wetlands have been used to successfully treat feedlot wastewater, but lower-cost options, like floating treatment islands, are still largely uninvestigated, particularly in the Alberta climate. To date, only a handful of studies show the potential of floating treatment islands to treat feedlot effluent. This phase will seek to answer what designs are suitable for livestock feedlot operations, and what plants are suitable for the application of the floating island technology in cold climates.

Learn about Phase 1 and Phase 2 of this project.


Land – Protect or enhance the value of real property through educational initiatives in both rural and urban spaces that inform and increase land stewardship, land use planning, and land management.

Studying the impact of COVID-19 on the Commercial Real Estate Industry

The Calgary Commercial Real Estate industry needs an updated economic impact analysis. Since the last analysis, more than 10 years ago, much has changed in the market. The COVID-19 pandemic and a sustained slump in the price of energy have impacted lease and vacancy rates.

Through an economic impact analysis, this study will establish a baseline understanding of the current state of commercial real estate in Calgary. The research will be used to guide policy and legislation within the industry, and with decision-makers.

BOMA Calgary is also undertaking a comprehensive survey of the perceptions and attitudes of commercial landlords and tenants, which will feed into this study.

In the short term, BOMA Calgary aims to create a road map to recovery, identifying and keeping track of key data points over time. In the long term, they aim to establish a census-style research database. This research will extend to Edmonton in partnership with BOMA Edmonton, with plans to expand to the broader commercial sector in Alberta.


Real Estate Leadership – Advance the real estate industry as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic through research and/or implementation of policy, practices, or educational initiatives.

Advancing the Rural Alberta Real Estate Market Through Innovative Local Co-operatives

Real estate prices in rural communities are dependent upon two interrelated factors: the availability of good jobs, and the availability of a variety of services that make a community a desirable place to live. It is well known that rural communities have, for at least 2-3 decades, faced significant job losses and population decline in the face of globalization, the competitive pressure for economies of scale in agricultural production, and, most recently the fossil fuel industry downturn.

The struggle to attract outside investment, the traditional path sought in rural economic development across the province, will continue to grow more difficult for most rural communities going forward, placing significant downward pressure on real estate prices in these locations.

This project aims to stabilize and improve the real estate market throughout rural Alberta over the long term by exploring and advocating for the potential inherent in new and innovative local cooperatives to act as significant stimulants in rural economic and community development throughout the province.

The research component of the project will be summarized in a Final Report, a Guide for Municipalities, a Guide for Interested Citizens, an academic article, a magazine article, a series of shorter “Policy Briefs”, and an online Webinar for wide dissemination. The Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities will also host a two-day conference on local co-operatives and rural development for representatives of rural municipalities and organizations across Alberta.


Real Estate Leadership – Increase resilience and population retention in rural communities to support a stable real estate market through research into and/or implementation of policy, practices, or projects.

Advancing the Real Estate Industry for Albertan Immigrants and Newcomers

This project will implement proven education and support practices to newcomer and immigrant Albertans who have little experience and understanding of Albertan homes or the Canadian real estate industry. This project will educate immigrant and newcomer Albertan’s who are new or future homeowners on the structure of Albertan homes, how homes ‘work’, how to understand and sign up for energy services, and the typical operating costs associated with Albertan homes. This consumer education will ensure newcomers and immigrants have the information and education they need to make informed home-buying decisions. This project will ensure new and future Albertan homeowners are empowered and educated to understand and plan for affordable homeownership.

Real Estate Leadership – Improve capacity and understanding of real estate professionals and/or consumers on real estate issues.
Built Environment – Expand access to housing options that are affordable and support homeownership through the adaption of best practices to the Alberta context or experimental pilot projects.

Enhancing Rural and Regional Real Estate through Community Learning

Residential, commercial, and industrial real estate are crucial to rural economic revitalization. This initiative will create learning resources for related professionals and the public in respect to the role that real estate can play in the economic, environmental and social recovery of rural and regional Alberta. This will help communities across the province design their own future – a future in which Alberta communities are healthy, sustainable, resilient, and safe. The resources and evidence-based best practices will be shared with communities across the province using a three-part delivery system consisting of: 1) Design charettes or workshops, 2) Online modules to supplement the workshops, and 3) Some material will be shared as open educational resources via the University’s social media channels.

Real Estate Leadership – Increase resilience and population retention in rural communities to support a stable real estate market through research into and/or implementation of policy, practices, or projects.

A New Approach to Energy Efficiency in New Homes

Energy efficiency is among the most cost-effective ways to reduce a homeowner’s ongoing monthly utility costs, and the most influential time to affect the efficiency of a home is during its initial design and construction. Decisions made during home design and construction impact not only the initial homebuyer, but all future owners. This project will leverage the launch of the Clean Energy Improvement Program in the province to demonstrate how it can be used to significantly increase the energy efficiency of new homes constructed. The successful demonstration could present an opportunity for all new buildings in the province (both multi-unit residential and commercial) to be built to a higher efficiency level for the same sticker price as a standard efficiency building – benefiting both the initial owner and all subsequent owners.

Built Environment – Expand access to housing options that are affordable and support homeownership through the adaption of best practices to the Alberta context or experimental pilot projects.

Advancing Placemaking and Innovation in Downtowns – Fellows Program

As part of their vision to advance 10,000 creators through a million square feet, they developed the 1M Fellows Program – a creator and talent development accelerator aimed at students, founders, and emerging leaders in real estate and urban development. The Fellows Program is designed to train young people to maximize their ability to make an impact in the industry and their communities. Fellows want to make an impact, are curious to learn about emerging trends and technologies, and want to solve big problems. Through a structured, 4 month core program offered to three types of cohorts: Student, Industry, and Founder, this program empowers fellows with the mindset, experience, and networks to solve new challenges in city-building through hands-on projects and forums.

Real Estate Leadership – Advancing the real estate industry as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic through research and/or implementation of policy, practices, or educational initiatives.
Real Estate Leadership – Mobilize the use of under-utilized real estate inventory through research into and/or implementation of policy, practices, or projects.