The study of what makes cities economically sustainable and successful will be the focus of a new professorship established at the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. Dean Robert Helsley will now hold the title of Grosvenor Professor of Cities, Business Economics and Public Policy. The new title reflects the generous support of Grosvenor, the international land holding and investment firm, which provided $630,000 to fund the new professorship for nine years.
“Grosvenor is an extremely thoughtful firm with a broad view of the foundations of their business. They devote significant resources to the study of cities and how their health and vitality is related to the business of real estate overall,” said Dean Helsley. “Having their support for a professorship that so closely describes my interests as a researcher is a great honour.”
Dean Helsley’s research focuses on the fundamental economic foundations for urban growth and productivity. His work examines why businesses tend to cluster in cities and how this impacts entrepreneurship and innovation. He also explores the effect of economic growth on real estate markets, and the economics of urban sprawl, blight and redevelopment.
“The world is increasingly urbanized, and with urbanization comes a whole host of positive and negative effects,” said Dean Helsley about his area of study. “I will be investigating how we can create more opportunities in cities through economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship, while also addressing what can be done to make cities more sustainable and liveable.”
Dean Helsley’s research into the economic factors stimulating growth and migration will have international applications. In particular, he notes that his research may aid in looking at the rapid pace of urbanization in emerging markets and whether the new mega cities that are arising in China and other countries are sustainable.
“Grosvenor’s decision-making about real estate is informed by our knowledge that value in urban environments is driven and supported by investments into cities themselves,” said Andrew Bibby, Chief Executive, Grosvenor Americas and UBC Bachelor of Commerce alumnus. “We are confident that our support of this new professorship will result in ideas that can be building blocks for better urban environments, which is embodied in our strapline, Living Cities.”
In addition to research, the Grosvenor professorship will support Dean Helsley in a variety of outreach activities including speaking engagements on the future of the British Columbia and Vancouver economies.
Dean Robert Helsley, Grosvenor Professor of Cities, Business Economics and Public Policy
Dean Helsley has led Sauder since July 2012 when he returned to UBC from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. At Haas from 2008 to 2012, Helsley served as Professor and Chair in Real Estate Development and was the Co-chair of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics. During his previous tenure at Sauder he was an influential leader, serving for different periods as Senior Associate Dean, Faculty and Research, Director of the UBC Centre for Real Estate and Urban Economics, and Chair of Urban Land Economics.
Andrew Bibby, Chief Executive, Grosvenor America
After earning degrees at the University of British Columbia and Oxford University, Bibby joined Grosvenor in 1984, eventually rising to Chief Development Officer based in Vancouver. He took over as CEO of Grosvenor Americas from its San Francisco headquarters at the start of 2009. He served on Sauder’s Faculty Advisory Board from 2003 to 2010.
Grosvenor Group Limited is one of several businesses in the Grosvenor Estate portfolio. The Grosvenor Estate is a portfolio of businesses, rural estates and other assets owned by trusts on behalf of Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor who is the 6th Duke of Westminster, and his family. In total the organization employs more than 1,100 people.
Grosvenor’s support for Sauder
Grosvenor’s commitment helped the Sauder School to establish the Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate as one of the preeminent academic and training resources for real estate within British Columbia and Canada. Grosvenor has also supported an internship program, graduate scholarship, robust research agendas, and has provided valuable expertise through mentorship, speaking engagements and employment for Sauder graduates.