Cities are not dying, but they are undergoing significant changes in the wake of the pandemic and the rise of remote work. Experts including urban planners, economists, and academics predict that big cities like New York and Los Angeles will continue to thrive but must adapt to new realities. Smaller cities also have opportunities to attract residents moving away from larger urban areas. Changes include the potential transformation of office spaces, the continued attraction of cities to young and aging populations, and the need to address challenges like affordable child care and housing.
- Big Cities Will Survive but Must Adapt: Though the pandemic spurred a departure from cities, the major urban centers are seen as resilient, with unique attractions that continue to pull people in. However, adaptations and changes in policies are necessary to ensure that they remain vibrant living spaces.
- Remote Work’s Impact on Urban Living: With about 30% of working days coming from home, the need for office spaces is declining, leading to potential conversions of commercial spaces. Economists are predicting the loss of some office buildings, which will affect urban governments’ revenues.
- Smaller Cities Have Opportunities: Smaller urban areas like Cincinnati and Indianapolis can position themselves as destinations for those leaving big cities. Even small shifts from large cities could represent significant opportunities for these smaller locales.
- Challenges for Families in Cities: Cities are losing families, especially those with young children, due to unaffordable child care and unsuitable housing. Reversing this trend would require significant policy changes.
- The Future of Downtowns: With a sustained move to hybrid and remote work, downtown office spaces may need to transform into more amenity-oriented areas with an emphasis on culture and entertainment. This change could improve the quality of life for city dwellers but may pose challenges to city budgets.