The Class Foundation – an interview with co-founder Frank Uffen.

Join us on November 17th, in Madrid, at one of the world’s most innovative real estate and urban planning conferences – designed by The Social Hub, with the future in mind. Find out more about it our exclusive interview with the co-founder of the Class foundation, Frank Uffen, and sign up to attend or watch the conference live here.

The first Class Conference was back in 2011. Can you tell us about how it all started?  

Frank: Well, in Dutch tradition, Charlie and I wanted to bring the social, private and public sector together to solve the emerging student housing crisis. We believed we would need 10 years to solve student housing issues, so we planned a Graduation Conference in 2020 to celebrate achievements.  

How has it been going to reaching your goals? 2020 was a couple of years ago.  

Frank:  Everything changed in March 2020 due to the global health crisis. But this crisis only made the cause stronger. We now know that the rise of blended living and learning is here to stay, because students still value experience and community. We also saw student mobility rising faster so we still have a lot of work to provide every student with the accommodation they deserve.     

So, what is exactly The Class Conference?  

Frank: We identify and discuss the big trends that will reshape the education, real estate, and student living industry. The Class Conference is our annual flagship event where 600 leaders from our industry come together to explore how we can use ideas and cross-border collaborations to shape the future of student living. With insights from industry trailblazers, international executives, investors, developers, operators set together the agenda for the next year over the course of our two-day programme.  

 

There’s is a new one coming up in Madrid. Tell us about it. 

Frank: This year's theme is Hyper-connectivity: The Urban (R)evolution. We explore whether the way we are living, and where we are heading, is sustainable in the environmental, social and economic ways. The UN estimates that by 2050, 70% of the world's population will live in cities, many attracted by universities. Globalisation and digitisation have transformed almost every aspect of urban life. Our homes are full of smart devices that talk to each other via the 'Internet of Things', and our lives are increasingly mediated by algorithms. We travel, study on- and offline, work in the gig economy, pay for goods and services with digital currencies, and eschew ownership in favour of sharing and renting models. This is one potential vision of our hyper-connected future – but we see a lot of challenges that are not addressed by our industry fast enough.

It sounds like something for smart people only!  

Frank: Laughing, not at all! This is something we all need to think about whether we like it or not. And yes talking about heavy subject matter like this can be hard over a number of days. So we try to make it as interactive and practical as possible. In fact, we design it more as a festival than a conference. We will also visit innovative projects like The Social Hub Madrid to show and share best-practices and is an award show that celebrates the Best in Class.

Want to join? The Conference takes place this Thursday November 17 from 9:45 until 16:00 in Madrid. Get your (online) tickets here.

About The Social Hub

Driven by a purpose to create a better society, The Social Hub is a pioneer in the hybrid hospitality industry, offering spaces where guests from all walks of life can learn, stay, work and play. With hotels located across Europe’s most dynamic cities, The Social Hub connects and creates a unique community of travellers, students, business professionals, neighbours, and more.

From hotel facilities, student and extended stay rooms, co-working spaces, through to auditoriums, gyms, event spaces and a comprehensive social impact programme, The Social Hub is a place where people can connect and learn from one another, build a community and engage in unique experiences that help spark ideas and make change happen.

Founded in 2012, The Social Hub is headquartered in Amsterdam and counts with more than 1,000 employees. The Social Hub’s total locations amount to 23, including 17 hotels and over 10,000 rooms currently operating in Amsterdam (two hubs), Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Delft, Eindhoven, Florence, Groningen, Maastricht, Madrid, Paris, Rotterdam, San Sebastián, The Hague, Toulouse, and Vienna. Six hubs are currently in development and opening in 2024 in Glasgow, Porto & Florence Belfiore, Rome in 2025, and Lisbon and Turin further ahead. For more information: www.thesocialhub.co.

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