After two decades of robust population growth, America’s cities are no longer booming. According to a recent New York Times article, growth in major metropolitan areas is half what it was about ten years ago. And people are understandably wondering what the COVID-19 crisis will mean for the future of cities. From that article:
Mayors are already warning of precipitous drops in tax revenue from joblessness. Public spaces like parks and buses, the central arteries of urban life, have become danger zones. And with vast numbers of professionals now working remotely, some may reconsider whether they need to live in the middle of a big city after all.
Have big cities lost their allure, as the title of the Times article says? And will the pandemic accelerate a rush to smaller cities, the suburbs, and exurbs?
These are some of the questions Abby Kinney and Chuck Marohn explore on this week’s episode of the Upzoned podcast. They also discuss why the places likely to take the biggest economic hit from the pandemic are those with the most debt, the most long-term liabilities, and the least amount of flexibility—i.e., places built according to the suburban development pattern. And they describe the type of cities most likely to experience a renaissance in the post-coronavirus future. (Hint: It’s not the suburbs, but it’s not necessarily New York and San Francisco either.)
Then in the Downzone, Chuck recommends two very different books — a crime thriller set in Minnesota, and a book on the future of the American worker — and Abby describes the experience of mushroom hunting.