COVID didn't cause a total urban exodus, but it did shift America's landscape
COVID didn't cause a total urban exodus, but it did shift America's landscape
9:45

COVID didn't cause a total urban exodus, but it did shift America's landscape

Science
Speaker 1: We've always been a very mobile country. I think if you looked around the world and picked any other country, you wouldn't find the kind of north south east, west trajectories that seem to be very easily taken by Americans. Uh, and are in fact part of our history. This is just another episode in that story. Speaker 2: Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, urban areas across the us have seen changes both big and small. One of the most notable being a population [00:00:30] migration out of larger cities like New York and Los Angeles into smaller cities like Denver, Miami, and Phoenix. Just to name a few, this migration was in motion before COVID 19, but it accelerated as remote work became an option for millions of people. Many of whom sought out more space. And the lower cost of living Speaker 1: Seems as if, uh, some neglected cities elsewhere in the us will be benefiting from some of these movements. This is a very fluid time. I think [00:01:00] of migration, uh, across the country in many directions, Speaker 2: The number of people who made permanent moves was up just 3% from March, 2020 by February, 2021. But when you take a closer look at a few of America's dense and most expensive cities like New York and San Francisco, the data paints a different picture with a large percentage of the popular moving out of those Metro regions. It's a shift that has had far reaching impacts on cities, both big and small. When it comes to urban development, [00:01:30] housing prices and traffic flows. As remote work policies have spurred many people to change their location. During the pandemic, some companies are still figuring out how to adapt to the, this new type of workforce at Google. For example, the company announced in June that it had developed a tool for employees to see how their salary might change based on their region. The tool allows employees to request office changes or apply to become fully remote workers and CEOs in DARPA Chi announced plans for 20% [00:02:00] of the company to permanently work remotely. Alex Kaufman lived and worked in San Francisco for two years before the shift to remote work, allowed him to lead the city for the sunnier skies of Miami. While he says the move wasn't spurred specifically because of the pandemic without the remote work option. He may not have been able to relocate Speaker 3: A lot of technology companies and sort of high in financial company and et cetera, focus on New York and San Francisco and labor markets that is changing quite quickly and at the time, and I still believe this, [00:02:30] it would be significantly more complicated for me to find a equivalent job in the Miami labor Speaker 2: Markets. Kaufman says the high cost of living and taxes were contributing factors in his decision to move. Miami Speaker 3: Was a, a place where, when I visited, uh, lots of construction, you know, things being built. Um, and so that was a very strong sign to me that the people in charge really cared about the city prospering. Speaker 2: Most people who moved during the pandemic stayed within the same state [00:03:00] instead opting to leave their Metro or micro area. Despite talks of mass moves to Florida and Texas, most people who did move stayed close to where they came from in this graph, the data shows that the pandemic accelerated a preexisting trend of more people moving outward to suburbs and surrounding areas of their former cities like San Francisco and New York. One factor that did affect major cities, especially ones in California, was a decrease in people migrating into the state California's [00:03:30] population. And job growth have both slowed with many siding concerns about high taxes, cost of living and heavy regulations with the rise of remote work over the past year and a half, 135,000 more people left California than moved in the third largest net migration loss ever recorded. Speaker 1: New York, New Jersey. New England have always been a source of new residents for south Florida, but California and the west coast are bring us, [00:04:00] um, new people. And in fact, new businesses, Speaker 2: People who left California largely moved throughout Western coastal states, however people leaving Los Angeles specifically made their way east to places like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Miami, many Speaker 1: Cities that might tell you they've been languishing economically are ex experiencing new interest, new residents and Speaker 2: Businesses. Similarly to Miami Denver, Colorado saw an increase in people moving to the city during the pandemic. [00:04:30] But what makes Denver unique is the relatively high cost of living Speaker 4: Our, our population numbers have just been growing pretty steadily and everything that is a part of new normal everyday life is just a little bit more, uh, complicated, um, a little bit more crowded, all sorts of things on an everyday basis. You're going to see the impact. Speaker 2: And it wasn't just individuals who moved during the pandemic. Several major tech industry leaders pulled out of [00:05:00] Silicon valley all together, Oracle and Dropbox, both moved to Austin, Texas Hewlett Packard, moved to Houston, Texas, and PARY went to Denver, Colorado. Elon Musk also left Silicon valley for Texas last year to focus on two big priorities for his companies. SpaceXs new Starship vehicle launch site and Brownsville, Texas, and moving test less headquarters to Austin as well on the subject of Tesla, leaving California, however must added. We will be Speaker 5: Continuing to expand our activities [00:05:30] in California. So this is not a matter of, of sort of Tesla leaving Speaker 2: California. Some cities are even offering tax incentives for companies to move their businesses. Miami dad county, for example, a offers, a myriad of business incentives, such as state and local tax breaks for companies relocating to areas that have been designated as having high economic development priority. Speaker 1: There is an influx of tech industry, uh, and a great, um, detention to incubating businesses. All of a sudden it's [00:06:00] evident that it's actually happening in a big way. Speaker 2: The influx of residents to smaller cities is also having an effect on traffic patterns. There are two variables when it comes to traffic, one vehicle traffic, which is how much people drive and two traffic and jet, which is what causes delays, congestion occurs. When many people are going to the same destination at the same time. And this very thing is seeing a shift. We've Speaker 4: Definitely noticed that there's been an increase in the volume [00:06:30] of traffic. Uh, and then with the pandemic, uh, public transit has really dropped off. Speaker 2: Get says that skyrocketing housing prices in the city are also contributing to increased traffic. As more people are having to find places to live farther away from Denver city center. In contrast Elizabeth platter, Z Iberg says that influx of new residents to Miami has created greater demand for a more walkable city. Speaker 1: If you were to drive to the Western reaches [00:07:00] of south Florida, you would see pockets of, um, walkable and less auto dependent, um, urbanism in our area. It's definitely changed, I think largely by remote work Speaker 2: In bay of your cities like Los Angeles, the once jaw dropping empty freeways during COVID S early days have largely begun to fill up with cars again. Speaker 6: So right when, uh, the pandemic, uh, began [00:07:30] and California first entered a lockdown, uh, traffic just plummeted, uh, to, to levels. We have we not seen in the hundred years and right now, uh, with, uh, something close to, but of course not quite out of full reopening. Um, we see congestion levels and traffic levels that rival, uh, pre pandemic levels. So things have come back pretty fast. Speaker 2: Manville says emptier city streets during the coronavirus pandemic brought into sharp focus, [00:08:00] just how unsafe the city's street networks are. Speaker 6: And so I think it was very telling that early in the pandemic in California, you saw traffic crashes go down, right? Because the typical crashes just caused by vehicles being in close proximity to each other. Uh, but fatal crashes go up, um, because fatal crashes are caused by speed. Speaker 2: A shift in the use of public transit has also played a role in changing traffic patterns in big cities. We know that in New York city, the pandemic profoundly disrupted [00:08:30] the largest public transit system in America, throwing it into financial turmoil in Los Angeles. Michael Manville says public health agencies advise people not to take public during the early months of COVID. Speaker 6: And I think there's a hangover from that where people still really worry, uh, perhaps rightly perhaps wrongly, uh, that, that riding public transportation might put them at risk of COVID. Speaker 4: I Speaker 3: Will remain, um, a remote worker, I believe, uh, for the indefinite [00:09:00] future and I could return to the office. Um, but, um, I don't, I don't have to, and I, I don't really want to, Speaker 2: Alex Kaufman says that he has no regrets leaving San Francisco for Miami, but admits he knows people who stayed, where they were even during the pandemic. I've Speaker 3: Had, um, family members who reside in the city of New York didn't leave and then went right back to the office when it Speaker 2: Opened in the end, the pandemic may have accelerated the timeline of this urban shuffle across the us, but it's also a complicated issue that cannot easily be [00:09:30] pinpointed or defined. What is clear is that the good amount of people are on the move, whether it's to get to a more affordable city, be closer to the outdoors, or just want a change of scenery. And it's not slowing down anytime soon,

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