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Effect of “Distance Working” on Viability of City Centers!

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Telecommuting was a reward for a few exceptionally skilled worker such as trusted programmers or software engineers.

Now for many major corporations and Universities, a major shift has occurred, at least in the North American Cities, where working from home and conferencing by Skype, Zoom and the like is now the norm.

There are huge benefits: less road traffic, less time wasted traveling and parking and decrease in stress.

My wife runs outreach education programs for the Semel Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA and normally 250 attend. Now regularly audiences are over 50” and the individuals on a panel and any videos are always much more clearly visualized compared to sitting in a large auditorium!

However, other folk suffer. City restaurants have almost zero customers lunch time and for after work.
Buildings are under utilized and tenants don’t need to rent so much space.

In the UK, too,this is realizedto be a huge and dangerous existential threat to City Centers!

But Trade Unions still want folk to work from home! In fact some say forcing workers to show up is “illegal”!

“Sir David Spiegelhalter, professor of public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge, said that the change in age profile in infections was “quite extraordinary”. He said that the age shift was “affected by testing availability, but also a shift in who is infected”. He added: “The elderly and frail seem to be far better protected than they were at the start of the epidemic, but they need to be able to get their freedom back.”

There is mounting concern in government about the economic damage being caused to city centres by the increase in working from home as a result of the coronavirus crisis.”


Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
In Japan, since July, the Finance Ministry has urged 70% of workers to be working from home!

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So this major change to working habits could have extraordinary domino effect on the continued success of companies in City Centers who service these workers. Also, long term it could perhaps alter the demands to office space and even therefore for new construction!

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
I would be very cautious about predictions on the future of our cities. The reason telecommuting is not more widespread is that managers don't like it. That part is not going to change any soon.

Then, for historical cities, there is the effect that tourism collapsed. AirBnB was quickly transforming European city centers in a tourist exclusive zone, that is gone.

Last but not least, our increased dependence on computer networks makes us quite attractive to hackers. I predict that a backlash will happen next year.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I would be very cautious about predictions on the future of our cities. The reason telecommuting is not more widespread is that managers don't like it. That part is not going to change any soon.

Then, for historical cities, there is the effect that tourism collapsed. AirBnB was quickly transforming European city centers in a tourist exclusive zone, that is gone.

Last but not least, our increased dependence on computer networks makes us quite attractive to hackers. I predict that a backlash will happen next year.
Actually, here in the USA, The mega companies like Amazon, AWS, Google, Apple and Oracle have shifted to almost exclusive telecommuting. This has had a shock effect.

My son, a highly experienced executive, sees this not being reversed totally when the epidemic is tamed.

Its real and has revealed cost savings and increased efficiency. Folk actually may be far more focussed and are happy with the removal of exhausting commutes and gas costs!

Asher
 
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