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Will Covid-19 change views on density and affordability?

Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
552
Points
19
Some have come out and said there is too much density now during a public health crisis like this one. Yet we had a huge push emphasizing it for affordability right before this all happened. Building in more density was a big part of the affordability solution. How do you all think this will change things? Will we see people disperse more? Will people take a 2nd look at small town living now? Lots of unknowns. I would be interested to hear people's thoughts on this.
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
486
Points
20
I've been following some of this on twitter- the Kotkin stuff and the response. So far:

- I like the idea of more smaller-scale mixed-use neighborhoods (row homes and corner stores with hundreds instead of thousands or tens of thousands of customers).
-Get cars out of big cities and you have lots of room for social distancing. watch street closures in NYC.
-Some really dense places have been really good at "flattening the curve," but with levels of govt. intervention most Americans would not want.
-Sprawl where everybody has to go to a giant grocery store for shopping is probably not great.
-Bike share and bike infrastructure could replace some public transit in some climates
-in the age of delivery, free parking is a waste of the public curb. loading zones need to be expanded.
 

Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
552
Points
19
So much of what becomes reality is nothing more than perception. Covid-19 may change the trend that dense city life is the hip desirable thing going forward. Will people still be clamoring to get into SF and pay $3,500 a month for a flat?
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
2,459
Points
34
Singapore, Seoul, etc. is what I mean. I'm mostly reacting to this NYT article blaming NYC's density for its outbreak and the resulting twitter storm among the planner crowd.
That part I agree with. What I'm disputing is "levels of govt. intervention most Americans would not want." I think there is a very vocal minority that comprises a radical fringe, but that most people actually want elected officials to enact measures that are best for the people (as opposed to, say, the stock market or major corporations).
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
2,459
Points
34
So much of what becomes reality is nothing more than perception. Covid-19 may change the trend that dense city life is the hip desirable thing going forward. Will people still be clamoring to get into SF and pay $3,500 a month for a flat?
A good chunk of that will have to do with whether telecommuting becomes common and accepted as a result of the outbreak.
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
486
Points
20
That part I agree with. What I'm disputing is "levels of govt. intervention most Americans would not want." I think there is a very vocal minority that comprises a radical fringe, but that most people actually want elected officials to enact measures that are best for the people (as opposed to, say, the stock market or major corporations).
I hope you're right. The full parking lot every day for the last 2 weeks at the gun shop gives me pause. I think if most people could get a few facts about the market versus their actual well-being, that would be great, but now we have talking heads saying stuff like "maybe it's better to let old people die than have a recession." Paraphrasing the TX governor.

I also think while NYC is the epicenter today, rural places are going to be hit hard in the coming weeks.
 

Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
552
Points
19
A good chunk of that will have to do with whether telecommuting becomes common and accepted as a result of the outbreak.
I would think that when this is over some jobs will never go back to the office again. If nothing else, employers then do not have the cost of office space. There has been no real reason to maintain office space for many jobs as it is. Its a paradigm stuck in the heads of Boomers, and some Xers because the office setting is the world they came up in. Millenials and Gen Z (My kids)? Not tied to that world.
 

OfficialPlanner

Cyburbian
Messages
931
Points
23
I can see a lot of companies allowing more telecommuting options when this is all over, reducing the demand for expensive commercial real estate. Living near where you work may become less importance for the millennials that can work from home, but I don't see the trend to be in walkable neighborhoods reversing. The less expensive cities in the metro area that have good bones may benefit.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
Messages
2,459
Points
34
I'm having no problem doing my job remotely. A few of the people I work with are fulltime telecommuters already, and live in other states. That said, as a boomer, I do like the thought of physically going into the office. When this is over, even if I remain a telecommuter, I may choose to go into the office one day a week or something.

My company has recently added leased office space for several hundred people; that's gotta be pricey. If they could get away from it that would save them a lot of money.

That said, there are certain activities that it is better to have people there in person. There are certain kinds of meetings where there is a lot lost if you can't see the other people, their reactions, hear precisely who is saying what, etc. If it's a meeting with participation by a lot of people and roles are important (customer/supplier), remote doesn't work well.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,454
Points
50
I don't see this pandemic scaring people away from more pedestrian scaled/oriented urbanized areas.

I believe more remote working capability may permit people to have greater choice of living arrangements - urban, rural, suburban.

Personally, I would choose higher density pedestrian oriented urban settlements in this scenario or any, really, as my wife and I (and even my boys) would prefer living in areas like Chicago Lincoln Park, New York Brooklyn Heights, central Boston neighborhoods or medium cities like Ann Arbor, MI or central Columbus, OH.

I grewup in the central city Alpena, MI (small city of 10,000) in rural northern lower MI, lived 5 years in Ann Arbor, MI, 2 years in southern Lincoln Park neighborhood, 4 years in Oak Park, IL (Chicago first ring streetcar suburb), 2 years living in central (and 5 years working for) Arlington Heights, IL ( 2nd/3rd ring Chicago suburb that started life as a small railroad suburb village), 3 years in Tipp City, OH (a small city that is a far north Dayton suburb that was a distance railroad suburb in the past) and now 5-6 years living in and work for Medina, OH in metro Cleveland/Akron (a small city and county seat that is 200 years old and re-solidifying our 'small town urban'). Not to mention also working for 3 auto oriented suburban munis.

Therefore, I believe have a wide and deep understanding and perspective on these subjects not just because I've lived almost every form of human settlement, but I have also been critically thinking about this subject almost everyday of my adult life, so far.
 
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Hawkeye66

Cyburbian
Messages
552
Points
19
Our traditional model of paying people has been by hours worked, but it should really switch to measures of productivity. There are people who can get a lot done in 20 hours a week, and people that waste a lot of time in a 40 hour work week. We have all seen that.
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
486
Points
20
I don't see this pandemic scaring people away from more pedestrian scaled/oriented urbanized areas.

I believe more remote working capability may permit people to have greater choice of living arrangements - urban, rural, suburban.

Personally, I would choose higher density pedestrian oriented urban settlements in this scenario or any, really, as my wife and I (and even my boys) would prefer living in areas like Chicago Lincoln Park, New York Brooklyn Heights, central Boston neighborhoods or medium cities like Ann Arbor, MI or central Columbus, OH.

I grewup in the central city Alpena, MI (small city of 10,000) in rural northern lower MI, lived 5 years in Ann Arbor, MI, 2 years in southern Lincoln Park neighborhood, 4 years in Oak Park, IL (Chicago first ring streetcar suburb), 2 years living in central (and 5 years working for) Arlington Heights, IL ( 2nd/3rd ring Chicago suburb that started life as a small railroad suburb village), 3 years in Tipp City, OH (a small city that is a far north Dayton suburb that was a distance railroad suburb in the past) and now 5-6 years living in and work for Medina, OH (a small city county seat that is 200 years old and re-solidifying our 'small town urban'). Not to mention also working for 3 suburban auto oriented suburban munis.

Therefore, I believe have a wide and deep understanding and perspective on these subjects not just because I've lived almost every form of human settlement, but I have been critically thinking about this subject almost everyday of my adult life, so far.
If I could telecommute more I'd love to live around the corner from a small-town Main Street, even if that small town was remote from my workplace. There's a really nice one about a 45 minute drive from my office that just would not work for me day in and day out, but if I was home 2-3 days/week it would be awesome.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,454
Points
50
If I could telecommute more I'd love to live around the corner from a small-town Main Street, even if that small town was remote from my workplace. There's a really nice one about a 45 minute drive from my office that just would not work for me day in and day out, but if I was home 2-3 days/week it would be awesome.
I've come to the conclusion that most Americans, whether they're aware of it or not, want the 'small town urban' that used to prevail across much of the country - think Mayberry or Winter Park, FL.

We're working to regenerate this in my small city and once it gets going (and our school district stays strong or gets better) property values and desirability are going to skyrocket.

Maybe all this forced reduction of previously unnecessary auto trips and more walking around will remind people that walking a mile is really easy for a human. Humans 'walked' to Australia in only 40,000 years.

I think modern humans can walk 1.5 miles to the store and carry a day or two worth of 'needs'.
 
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