Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute November Newsmaker Breakfast: The Impact of COVID-19 on Urban Geography - Shared screen with speaker view
Slides will be made available at the end of the discussion.
Transit oriented development, densification, walkable neighborhoods...not just nice for quality of life but also great paths for mitigating climate issues. Is city out-migration a reflection of failed policy in these areas?
Related to that perhaps, how do you assess the success of the Portland OR model, with its effort to contain exurban sprawl, increase urban and suburban density, and promote transit, both during and before the pandemic?
Curious how much of the migration pattern movement is residents choosing lower priced metro areas. Indications are it is the highest priced metros where people are leaving -- perhaps less than fleeing urbanism.
A model many communities have used in Utah is allowing developers more room to build what the market wants in locations that support town centers and transit use. Single family homes are good and density can be good. Together they provide an array of choices. Density in the right places help communities achieve their placemaking goals and reduce transportation impacts. Conversely low density everywhere could only be achieved by distorting the private housing market.
Do you expect states that feature smaller metros, lower cost of living and assets like outdoor recreation opportunities (like Utah) to “weaponize” their advantages to draw more talent/investment/etc.?
You mentioned converting big box retail to residential but many cities resist due to losing sales tax. Is there a solution?
Also curious to what extent inventory and affordability are actually affecting a migration out to the surrounding suburbs and exurbs rather than fleeing cities. To the extent that the supply of homes for sale continues to decline in urban areas and affordability decline, many aspiring homeowners are left with reduced choice in urban areas. To go along with this, a majority of new residential construction (especially single-family) are in more suburban and exurban areas. The migration may be less a reflection of preference and more a reflection of lack of choice.
I have a hard time believing Covid will lead to any significant de-urbanization trend. Covid is a very big short-term threat that everyone needs to take seriously. But, chronic disease has been the leading killer for a hundred years. Given massive improvements in public sanitation, public health, and vaccinations, there is little reason to anticipate infectious disease will become a leading cause of death again after we get Covid under control. So, why focus on Covid statistics? The economic arguments regarding housing affordability are more persuasive.
Q: Would the findings on COVID-19 in Utah have to be changed given the sharp surge of cases recently?
Andrew Gruber, WFRC
In Utah, and the Wasatch Front, the answer to accommodating growth seems to be providing adequate housing and transportation choices to residents; not all downtown apartments or suburban/exurban single family, but options across the spectrum. Metropolitan center and dispersed set of town centers.