HKS Affiliated Authors


October 22, 2022, Paper: "What will COVID-19 and the shift to remote work do to the cities of the world? The temporary disruptions have been enormous and remain enormous as of the late summer of 2022. Offices remain vacant in many large cities. Within the US, the pandemic sped up the longer-term movement of people and firms to the sunbelt. Looking forward, there seem to be two possible scenarios, depending on the pandemic events of the future. If COVID-19 is only the first of a wave of deadly global disease events, then the urban renaissance that began thirty years ago could end. If COVID-19 is a one-off pandemic, then the impact of disease and telecommuting on urban life will be more limited. The enduring demand of people to enjoy urban amenities, and the value of learning face-to-face should enable cities to survive this shock. The stark gap between these two scenarios highlights the importance of global investments in public health that can reduce the risk of future pandemics."