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The cities of the United States were divided into two groups
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The cities of the United States were divided into two groups

Examining 274 US cities based on mobility data from smartphones, it can be concluded that central business districts in small cities are more likely to return to pre-pandemic activity than larger areas. Pandemic restrictions and the forced adoption of remote work have suddenly wiped out much of the benefits of downtown in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

In the largest US cities, which employ more than 1.5 million people, downtown traffic has stabilized at 60% of pre-pandemic levels, while smaller cities have largely returned to pre-pandemic equilibrium.

In New York, according to statistics, subway use is currently 65 percent of pre-pandemic levels, which the city called “the enduring legacy of the COVID-19 epidemic.” Office occupancy in the city center is still less than half of what it used to be.

The consequences are dire, including for commercial property values, local tax revenues, and street life. Business districts in major cities seem to have stalled in the post-pandemic recovery process.

One explanation for this is that professions concentrated in small towns are more likely to require face-to-face work, while the potential benefits of face-to-face interaction have always been lower in large cities, where the mix of industries is already large. Larger. On the other hand, in smaller towns, you have to travel less to get to the city center, so a potential home office does not bring such benefits in terms of travel time. These two different paths are also reflected in real estate prices. According to the research, surcharges close to the center are decreasing in major cities, while a recovery has occurred in smaller cities.

Cover image source: Getty Images

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