November 6-7, 2019


Arena Berlin Betriebs GmbH
Eichenstraße 4
12435 Berlin

Blended Living

The past decade can be considered nothing less than a miraculous one in human innovation. More ideas and products have been realised than any decade before, with greater flows of people, goods, and services between cities, countries and continents. In this new, global world-order, life goals and work preferences are changing too.

It is impossible to ignore the changing role of cities and pivotal importance of universities and knowledge institutions. Urban living increasingly is characterized by transience and inclination to constant change. Human capital and talent attraction are the driving force behind urban advancement in a competitive order of global cities. The fast changes in modern society are turning our lives in a permanent stage of becoming, and increasingly blurring the environment around us.

At The Class of 2020, we have been investigating the future of urban living, working and learning for a footloose generation of international talent. The recognition of the co-revolution being a natural progression for the student living sector inspires us to explore all the blends young people encounter in their living experience. While physical realities meet virtual spaces; the European market is witnessing both an institutionalization and a blurring of PBSA as asset class, embracing innovative lifestyle specific and hospitality-driven living products. The urban campus is the ultimate mash-up of higher education and novel ways of working and living together. Digitalization is disrupting our perception and experience of space, and creates learning ecosystems beyond proximity.

We enjoyed exploring these topics together with you and 800 other thought leaders in real estate investment, development and operations, international higher education and city leadership.


Oke Hauser

Creative Lead

MINI Living


Daniel Gorzawski

Harrison Street

Managing Director Head of Europe

Jorn Wisselink

Hmlet Australia

Director of Operations

Jill Ju

The Collective

Global Investment Director

Christine Neuhold

Young Universities for the Future of Europe Alliance

Academic Director Maastricht University Campus Brussels

Christine McDannell & Kindred Quarters

Founder & CEO

Anil Khera


Founder & CEO

Clayre Massey

Sheppard Robson


Gunther Schmidt

Medici Living Group

Founder & CEO

Ulrike Hagendorf


Reseaarch Manager European Residential

Eri Cuanalo



David Lefevre

Imperial College Business School

Director / Edtech Lab

Roger Hensman

WP Carey


Davide Dattoli

Talent Garden


Armon Bar-Tur

Base Camp Student


Benjamin Oeckl



Jess Gallop

Student Roost

Director of People

Dr. Philipp Bouteiller

Tegel Projekt


Rainer Nonnengasser

International Campus


Paloma Lisboa

Kings College

Director of Operations

Jamie Loizeaux

Hattington Capital


Gui Perdrix

Coliving Diaries


Claire Solon

Greystar Ireland

Managing Director

Emmanuel Javal

Le Grand Réservoir

Founder & CEO

Bobbi Hartshorne

GSA - Global Student Accomodation

External Relations & Student Wellbeing

Jake Chai


Senior Director of Real Estate

Robin Cremers

Xior Student Housing

Country Manager The Netherlands

Mindy Teo

Lyf for The Ascott Limited

Deputy Managing Director


November 4, 2019 - November 10, 2019


Wednesday (November 6, 2019)
11:30 am - 12:30 pm Registration (Incl. Coffee & Bites) - with The Class Conference 2019
Arena Club - Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin, Germany
12:30 pm - 5:00 pm Inspiration Site Tour - with The Class Conference 2019
T-junction - Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin, Germany
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm Welcome Reception - with The Class Conference 2019
Arena Club - Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin, Germany
7:00 pm - 10:30 pm Awards Dinner - with The Class Conference 2019
Address: Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin, Germany. Doors open at 18:45 and close at 19:30. Dress code: Cocktail.

November 4, 2019 - November 10, 2019


Once again, we kicked off our conference with our popular Inspiration Site Tour. This approximately four-hour journey took participants behind the scenes of some of the most unique spaces within Berlin’s talent ecosystem and helped frame the key narratives of the conference. We explored everything from traditional German student accommodation and new PBSA developments to co-working spaces, startup incubators and a university campus. Locations included: CIEE Global Institute, The Student Hotel, Quarters, The Fizz – International CampusNeon Wood, and Holzmarkt25.

November 4, 2019 - November 10, 2019


Thursday (November 7, 2019)
9:00 am - 9:30 am Registration - with The Class Conference 2019
9:30 am - 10:00 am Conference Opening - with Dr. Stefan Franzke (CEO, Berlin Partner), Martina Bo (Liaison Officer Italy, Erasmus Student Network), Ryan Manton (Programme Director, The Class of 2020), Paloma Lisboa (Director of Operations, King’s College London)
10:00 am - 10:45 am Apples to Oranges: Understanding Shared Living in Alternatives - with Daniel Gorzawski (Managing Director – Head of Europe, Harrison Street Real Estate Capital LLC), James Kingdom (Head of Alternatives Research, JLL), David Woodward (CEO, Global Apartment Advisors), Jo Winchester (Executive Director, CBRE), Neil Burton (Global Practice Lead – Customer Strategy & Brand, Greystar), Samuel Vetrak (CEO, BONARD)
As PBSA matures and coliving models pick up speed, the traditional factors determining the performance of alternative residential assets is complexifying. With Gen Z appetites driving the importance of operational teams, community and branding, how is performance of new models assessed? What are the opportunities and challenges when it comes to investing in platforms? Moving from an asset-based investment category to a brands and operations-based investment, what is performing well and where are the opportunities for investors in these living models? Historically the development of sizeable portfolios (appx. 5000+) has been limited in the continental market in any of these categories. Yet new brands are starting to develop quickly and raise the question- what are the similarities and differences between these alternatives?
10:15 am - 11:00 am German Student Living: Respecting Legacy, Building for the Future - with Dr. Stefan Brauckmann (Executive Director, Moses Mendelssohn Foundation), Valerie Bensiek (Managing Director Germany, GSA), Ulrike Hagendorf (Research Manager European Residential, Catella Residential), Achim Meyer auf der Heyde (Secretary General, Deutsches Studentenwerk), Felix Embacher (Berlin Manager, bulwiengesa AG)
Germany continues to be a top choice for international and domestic students, with high-quality education and low fees. Meanwhile, the tense housing market puts pressure on students in need of accommodation during studies and beyond. This panel will explore the legacy, current reality and future opportunities for student living in German cities.
11:00 am - 11:25 am Market Outlook Opening - with Samuel Vetrak (CEO, BONARD)
11:15 am - 12:15 pm The Moment for Coliving is Now - with Jacob Chai (Senior Director of International Real Estate, Common), Mindy Teo (Deputy Managing Director, The Ascott Limited), Jorn Wisselink (Director of Operations, Hmlet), Bruno Haid (Founder & CEO, Roam), Anil Khera (Founder & CEO, Node), Gui Perdrix (Founder, Coliving Diaries), Christine McDannell (Founder, Kindred Quarters)
In cities around the world, coliving is the hot topic catching the attention of developers and corporate investment in the housing market. The shared living concept is not a new one; but the need for a housing solution is apparent now more than ever before. Largely due to urbanisation and shifts in lifestyles of Gen Z, coliving concepts combine shared communal facilities, private living living spaces and foster community. What are the challenges and opportunities for operators? What are the varied business models? What makes a coliving community?
11:15 am - 12:15 pm Fast-Forward: What's Next for European Higher Education? - with Arno Suzuki (International Advisor, Kyoto University), Dr. Sonal Minocha (Chief Academic officer, Global University Systems), Dr. David Lefevre (Director, Edtech Lab, Imperial College Business School), Dr Christine Neuhold (Professor, Maastricht University), Viggo Stacey (Senior Reporter, The PIE), Arnold Persoon (Managing Director – Europe, Navitas)
As Europe grapples with its relationship with a globalised world, contrasting visions of the place of the university in society emerge. As localism and borderless models gain traction and new learning pathways are activated by technology, what are the opportunities and purpose for higher education in across European societies? What technological innovations are expanding access to education globally and how are changes in learning environments shaping attitudes and perceptions of higher education? What futures are possible for the European university and how will these influence talent geographies of European cities and regions?
11:30 am - 12:00 pm Austria & CEE - with Armon Bar-Tur (CEO, BaseCamp Student), Thomas Lebinger (Head of the Accommodation Brokerage Department, OeAD student housing Austria), Stuart Osborn (Partner, Knight Frank)
International demand for higher education in Austria continues to rise and finding accommodation for international students during studies and beyond remains a key concern. The nonprofit housing model dominates here but opportunities exist, especially for housing recent graduates and  young professionals. What can the growing private market learn from housing associations’ successful provision of affordable and sustainable options? Likewise, Central Eastern Europe remains promising for investors. Poland, home to the sixth largest student population in the EU, offers low tuition fees and cost of living combined with many English taught programmes. How will this growing market evolve and how will Polish cities be shaped by an influx of students with increased purchasing power?
12:05 pm - 12:35 pm Spain & Portugal - with Harald Hübl (Investment Director, Value One), Stuart Osborn (Partner, Knight Frank), Roger Hensman (Advisor, W.P. Carey Inc.)
In Spain, the future continues to blend past, present and potential for the future. Erasmus+ students, internationals studying abroad and local students blend from Barcelona to Madrid to Valencia. Here, demand for housing is accelerating as coworking and coliving make roots. The short term looks bright in Spain, but how can the management of university and private accommodation be sustained across cities? Portugal exemplifies how shifts in social attitudes towards higher education are being realised in the southern European region. Portuguese growth in supply and demand for housing is being met with new typologies across the country. Developments in Porto and Lisbon have brought much needed bed-space and amenities to the market, but even more is needed while other Portuguese cities continue to see exciting new developments on the horizon.
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Mind Your Business: The Bottom Line on Student Wellbeing. - with Fiona Stewart (Contract Director, Student Living by Sodexo), Gian Luca Giovanucci (President, European University College Association), Jess Gallop (Director of People & Organisational Effectiveness, Student Roost), Clayre Massey (Associate, Sheppard Robson), Dr. Zachery Spire (Head of Research & Training, The Class of 2020), Bobbi Hartshorne (Head of External Relations and Student Wellbeing, GSA – Global Student Accommodation), Paloma Lisboa (Director of Operations, King’s College London)
Research indicates that students experience more mental health issues in the transitional periods at the beginning and end of university. Many actors play a role both in shaping everyday university experiences and in mitigating more serious mental health crises during transitions. How can accommodation design support wellbeing? What are the current physical barriers to wellbeing in student life and beyond? How can actors as diverse as housing officers, residence managers, housing providers and designers address the issues such as burn out and loneliness which transcend student and young-adult life? Why is wellbeing important for everyone- from investor to operator- to pay attention to?
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Knowledge Cities: Innovation Districts and the Urban Campus - with Dr. Phillip Bouteillier (CEO, Tegel Projekt), Emmanuel Javal (CEO, Le Grand Réservoir), Jake Nunley (Senior Research Associate, The Business of Cities), Flavia Curvelo MagDaniel, Jorick Beijer (Urbanist & Co-founder, Blossity)
Urban innovation hubs are the new urban campuses, with innovation and entrepreneurship at their core. Diverse players in major European cities are initiating projects geared towards building districts in which inhabitants live, work and learn together – building communities that drive cities forward. Developing such projects requires well-developed visions and strong partnerships. Here we hear the stories of some at the forefront of this development. What will be the role of city governments, investment partnerships, industry and universities in shaping and managing these future urban districts?
12:40 pm - 1:10 pm Ireland - with Claire Solon (Managing Director, Greystar Ireland), Kevin Williamson (Investment Director, Host Students), Jamie Loizeaux (Partner, Hattington Capital), Andrew Smith (European PBSA Investment Advice, Cushman & Wakefield)
Ireland is addressing its student housing pressures head-on. With a National Student Accommodation Strategy, the government is hoping to free up residential spaces in its cities by increasing supply of purpose-built student accommodation. What is being done in the market and where? How are policy, investments and partnerships coming together in the home of the youngest population in Europe?
1:15 pm - 1:45 pm The United Kingdom - with Tom Donnachie (Transactions Director, Valeo Groupe Europe), Keith White (Chairman of the Board, CRM Students), Jeannie Wong (Vice President, Brookfield Asset Management), George Dyer (Partner, Cushman & Wakefield)
In the UK’s mature student housing market, consolidation of housing providers and operators has resulted in increased economies of scale and stable marginal growth rates. While universities continue to provide the vast majority of student accommodation bed spaces, private developers are expected to build nearly 90% of the beds to be built for the 2019/20 academic year and 82% of the total beds due to be completed by 2021. Some cities appear saturated while others remain open and promising. Will the implications of Brexit shock the UK or will it continue to be business as usual?
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm Maximising Space through Smart Technology - with Patrick Cunningham (Business Development Director – Germany, ASK4), Tom White (Director, Glide UK), Benjamin Oeckl (Executive Director, BelForm), Kelsea Crawford (CEO, Cutwork), Anke Kamschreur (Director, Innovation Lighthouse)
Smart technology can provide a range of opportunities for shared living developers, operators and residents to maximise use of space. Smart systems that optimize energy usage, support flexible spatial design and streamline building operations all contribute to high-quality sustainable spaces. Buildings are no longer seen as stagnant structures; rather, living and breathing multi-use spaces that vary in needs throughout the day. How can smart technology elevate the efficient usage of rooms, buildings and cities? How can developers reshape their approach to design and operations in shared living and working models? What are the costs and benefits of ‘green’ buildings?
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm The Future is Blended - with Nathan Goddard (CEO, Student Roost), Gunther Schmidt (Founder & CEO, Medici Living Group), Jill Ju (Investment Director, The Collective), Susan Tjarksen (Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield), Frank Uffen (Director of Partnerships, The Student Hotel), Rainer Nonnengaesser (CEO, International Campus Group), Brian Welsh (CEO, Nido Student)
Shifts in lifestyles and habits of Gen-Z and other nomadic generations are challenging traditional housing preferences around the world. This has resulted in an influx of hybrid living models that offer flexible spaces and amenities. How are our shared urban living models blending together? What models provide the much needed affordable living options and which cities have regulations and reforms that enable innovation? What are the drivers influencing how students and young talent are living? What brands and investor consortia are becoming the global leaders? With scarcity of land and rising costs will single use property be replaced mixed-use projects that offer intergenerational live-work-learn communities?
1:50 pm - 2:20 pm The Netherlands - with Pim Heurman (Partner, Haerzathe Investments), Robin Cremers (Country Manager The Netherlands, Xior Student Housing), Bas Wilberts (Director, Savills)
The trend of an acceleration in demand for student property is evident in the sharp rise in rent levels across urban areas throughout the country. With such a gap in supply and demand, institutions and private providers alike are partnering to develop new student housing in ‘travel to university’ areas outside of major cities. Cities are attracting prospective students, young professionals. How will investment meet the city and government ambitions for the Netherlands of the near future?
2:25 pm - 2:55 pm France - with Ségolène Desplanques (Investment Manager, Kley Group), Fréderic Verdevaine (Deputy CEO, Nexity), Phillip Hillman (Chairman – Living Capital Markets, JLL), Clément Leroy (Real Estate Development Manager, Kaufman & Broad)
In France, burgeoning demand for higher education continues. Driven by rising demand from Asia total demand for higher education continues to accelerate as regions show strong interest in European higher education. More investment is needed to foster and grow into the demand of the near future, and, what will become of the Plan 40,000?
3:00 pm - 3:30 pm Italy - with Joe Persechino (Head of Residential & Student Accommodation, AXA Investment Managers), Andrea Mancini (Head of Residential Investment Properties, CBRE), Carlo Matta (Head of Europe, CA Ventures), Heriberto Cuanalo (CEO, Collegiate)
The great debate of a ‘north and south divide’ has become magnified in the supply, demand and development of student housing, coliving and coworking across Italian cities. Commercial activities in the north and manufacturing and agriculture in the south are driving concentrated investment in Italian cities. How are cities like Bologna and Firenze addressing student and non-student demand by exploring public private partnerships? What opportunities do such partnerships offer investors?
3:00 pm - 3:45 pm The World is Watching. How Will Berlin House Talent? - with Wybo Wijnbergen (General Manager, WeWork), Friso Gabers (Primevest), Clare Thomas (Partner, CMS UK), Leon Bobbe (Chairman of the Board, Woonstichting De Key), Florian Färber (Founder & CEO, theBASE FOL Group), Ryan Manton (Programme Director, The Class of 2020)
Cities which provide more affordable and accessible housing options were one of the recommendations of The Class of 2020’s advisory project for Berlin Partner for Business and Technology. The research project which brought together 15 real estate experts focused on gathering insight on how best to attract and retain talent by innovating rental housing and building mixed use communities. Here we bring together experts from our research and beyond to discuss how the real estate industry can solve the housing crisis and create vibrant and innovative communities attractive to young talent.
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm The Frontiers of Urban Living - with Lily Moodey (Programme Coordinator, The Class of 2020), Esther Bahne (VP Strategy & Innovation, MINI), Richard Spencer (Managing Director, Goldman Sachs), Oke Hauser (Creative Lead, Mini Living), Charlie MacGregor (CEO & Founder, The Student Hotel), Davide Dattoli (Co-Founder & CEO, Talent Garden)
New players are disrupting existing industries to shape urban living. Community-focused, tech-savvy developments focused on high-quality design create opportunities for the investor and developer to initiate products that challenge what is currently on offer in major cities. What knowledge is driving investment in urban living innovations? What models work so far and what projects and innovations are the insiders working on? How and why is this industry complexifying and which models will take hold?
4:00 pm - 4:15 pm Closing Panel - with Martina Bo (Liaison Officer Italy, Erasmus Student Network), Ryan Manton (Programme Director, The Class of 2020), Paloma Lisboa (Director of Operations, King’s College London)
4:15 pm - 5:30 pm Networking Drinks - with The Class Conference 2019
Arena Club - Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin, Germany

November 4, 2019 - November 10, 2019


During the conference, The Class of 2020 will explore various topics in relation to the theme, Blended Living, including:

  1. The Student housing markets and the future of PBSA (models) in Europe and beyond
  2. The Co-Revolution: co-working, co-living, micro-apartments
  3. New concepts for blending intergenerational living
  4. The Urban Campus methodology; innovation hubs and talent ecosystems
  5. The rise of branch campuses: new talent geographies in post-Brexit Europe
  6. Funding the University of the Future: real estate as a leverage
  7. The digitalisation of higher education and work; the role of tech and platforms
  8. ResLife and Mental Health – need-to-know for operators and student living professionals
  9. Community building and placemaking: from the dorms and beyond
  10. Models for affordability; fostering inclusive cities and communities


With almost 20 panel discussions throughout the day held on three stages simultaneously, The Class Conference 2019 clustered multiple approaches to all the above challenges and opportunities into seven key takeaways:

Community is key

Each residential community is unique in its needs, wants, and demands.

To emphasize this point, the industry needs to stop thinking of generational groups as homogenous with the same needs and wants – alternatively, effective housing solutions will consider the mindset of residents, no matter what age group they fall under.

Operators are putting people first when it comes to community building. They are understanding the importance of activating space and community by empowering residents within it to share their own unique interests and connect with each other.

Affordability is demanded across the urban living sector

Housing affordability is a major issue for global cities. On The Moment for Coliving is Now panel, affordability was highlighted as the main appeal for prospective residents. To combat the affordability challenge, developers can consider new construction techniques, such as prefabrication to save on building costs and speed up the building process.

Operators can rethink their approach to amenities and luxury offerings. Based on resident feedback in coliving spaces, affordability trumps amenities. Varied opt-in/out options can also include more affordable choices for residents.

The value of branding

In tomorrow’s generation of global citizens, experience will continue to be valued over ownership. In addition to visually pleasing environments, residents are making more conscious decisions about company ethos when selecting their accommodation. Companies that are transparent with their offerings are more attractive to potential residents.

The added value of branding for investors remains marginal while portfolios sit relatively small in the continental market; however, given the projections shared at the conference, we can expect branding to become increasingly important as portfolios grow.

Reform outdated policies

Planning is lagging market trends nearly everywhere. Reforming building regulations based on historic precedents will enable innovative design to be approved – smaller, well-designed spaces with communal areas will help to increase density. However, planning also needs to continue to measure and control the quality of living environments to ensure the quality and sustainability of housing meets future demands.

Innovation and technology are driving building efficiency

Technology is not an add-on anymore but a full cycle driving force: from design and conceptualisation to construction and maintenance. In order to maximise the value of space, we need to be flexible and adaptable with design and embrace sustainability as a necessity. Smart technology can help us collect data and make data-informed decisions and enhance human experiences.

Learning is evolving to adapt to changing market demands

Learning pathways and higher education are changing rapidly. In the global knowledge economy, people need to reinvent themselves more than once in their career. Flexible learning pathways and tech enabled online learning will provide greater access to the skills needed to do so. This will require us to keep an open mind about what is meant by ‘campus,’ while keeping an eye on the technological and design needs of learning and living spaces.

Collaboration to shape the future of urban living

The Class Conference 2019 on Blended Living brought together around 700 urban innovators, educators, designers, real estate developers, operators and government officials. With an estimated 25 billion euros of current and future investment in blended living typologies onsite, there is substantial opportunities to shape the real estate industry in a blended, collaborative and more flexible direction.

Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

The Student Hotel The Class Virtual Summits

Silver Sponsor

Official suppliers
Local ambassadors
Complementary sponsors
Media partners

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