Post-Pandemic Transit and Offices, Remote Work Reducing Rents, and More
Still working through a big backlog of smaller items this week; key topics cover how we’ve faced the challenges of the pandemic and what transit and work might look like post-pandemic.
- Charles Blain and Joel Kotkin in the City Journal: The Virus’s Uneven Path – Working-class communities face mounting economic stress.
- Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox: Blue City Lockdowns Obscure COVID’s Root Causes. Excerpt:
“In contrast, areas with greater car usage—like Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston and even Los Angeles—have had dramatically fewer cases and fatalities. For example, Dallas County has 60% more residents than Manhattan, but at least 90% fewer fatalities. Houston’s core Harris County has three times the population of Manhattan and also at least 90% fewer fatalities. Los Angeles County has 20% more residents than the city of New York, yet also has at least 90% fewer fatalities than NYC. At the same time the rate of infections in nearby Orange County, where car usage is even greater and single family homes more prevalent, is barely one-seventh of that in Los Angeles County.”
- SF Chronicle: SF, Silicon Valley rents plunge amid downturn: ‘Never seen anything like it’. Excerpts:
That remote working trend is “compounding the job losses and putting significant downward pressure on rents” in the Bay Area, Georgiades said. “You have all these CEOs talking about how productive their teams are working from home and questioning whether they need to return to the office.”
- WSJ: When It’s Time to Go Back to the Office, Will It Still Be There? – As companies prepare for employees to return, they are asking whether a traditional headquarters is still necessary. The workplace will likely never be the same again. This is an interesting comment:
“Maybe soon-to-be-defunct Malls could offer satellite space with a food court. Malls are changing, maybe there is a synergy there.”
- NYT: C.D.C. Recommends Sweeping Changes to American Offices – Temperature checks, desk shields and no public transit: The guidelines would remake office life. Some may decide it’s easier to keep employees at home. Tons of comments saying this makes NYC impossible. Excerpts:
“The C.D.C. recommended that the isolation for employees should begin before they get to work — on their commute. In a stark change from public policy guidelines in the recent past, the agency said individuals should drive to work — alone.
Employers should support this effort, the agency said: “Offer employees incentives to use forms of transportation that minimize close contact with others, such as offering reimbursement for parking for commuting to work alone or single-occupancy rides.”
- The Hill: New York City will turn into shell of former self after coronavirus crisis. Hat tip to George.
- NYers Say They’ll Use Transit Less or Not at All
- Is the United States Giving Up on Public Transportation?
- Antiplanner: Transportation After the Pandemic
- Elon Musk Might Move Tesla From California. Interesting stat:
“The result is that over 1,000 businesses are estimated to leave California each year, with Texas being the biggest recipient state from California for 12 straight years.”
- The Economist magazine: “Houston had fewer cases than its high connectedness and density suggest”
Finally, I’d like to end with a video interview I did with Charles Blain, CEO of our think tank, Urban Reform Institute – A Center for Opportunity Urbanism: What Urban Transit Might Look Like Post-Pandemic
This piece first appeared on Houston Strategies.
Tory Gattis is a Founding Senior Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism and co-authored the original study with noted urbanist Joel Kotkin and others, creating a city philosophy around upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. He is also an editor of the Houston Strategies blog.
Photo: screenshot from Urban Reform Institute video (above).