COVID has had a major impact on how we live, but what about where we live? A recent Bloomberg article shows that migrations of people during the pandemic (specifically, March 2020–February 2021) accelerated a trend that was already in motion beforehand. Namely, that "[d]ense core counties of major U.S. metro areas saw a net decrease in flow into the city, while other suburbs and some smaller cities saw net gains."
In other words, people are moving outward from cities.
Why is this the case? It's largely due to the shift to remote work for many "professional," affluent people who can afford to make the move. Where workers choose to position their living situations (and their tax bases) has huge implications for how cities function and thrive. Those that have focused too heavily on being centers of employment, rather than habitation, may struggle as people shift to remote work and choose to live elsewhere.
This week on Upzoned, host Abby Kinney is joined by Strong Towns president Chuck Marohn as they "upzone" this subject—i.e., they look at it through the Strong Towns lens. They discuss what this "urban shuffle" means, considering that, from Strong Towns perspective, suburbs are less fiscally sustainable than urban centers. Will these migrations therefore lead to further insolvency for our cities?
Then in the downzone, Chuck's reading about pre-Colombian civilizations, and Abby's prepping for an exam that's coming up in November.