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Don't Move Just Yet

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Don't Move Just Yet

Soon there will be brand-new cities built around work from home – with cheaper housing, better schools, and smarter government.

Business Insider UK,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

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Americans no longer need to live where they work, so where will they live?

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With work from home becoming more prevalent in the United States, economist Matthew E. Kahn proposes planned communities he dubs “Remotevilles.” These brand-new, compact towns would rise on the fringes of existing cities, but unlike suburbs, they would encourage civic engagement. People there would spend less money for homes, less time commuting, and more time enjoying parks, volunteer gigs and walkable spaces. Kahn believes his Remotevilles could revitalize smaller, struggling cities such as Baltimore, Maryland and draw people from places vulnerable to climate change. What might become of existing, sprawling suburbs? Kahn doesn’t say.  


New cities – “Remotevilles” – could cater to work-from-home employees in the United States.

Most of the United States’ workforce has been tied to geographic locations for decades, commuting into large cities to work in offices. Post-pandemic, with remote work on the rise, up to 40% of workers can work from home and can reverse this once seemingly indestructible paradigm.

As a result, suburbanization is “supercharged.” The mid-sized cities most likely to benefit include Baltimore, Maryland; Buffalo, New York; Bozeman, Montana; and Boise, Idaho. Most exciting, however, is the possibility that all-new work-from-home (“WFH”) communities – so-called “Remotevilles” – could one day encircle major cities. Remotevilles would be vital communities, like urban centers but with more affordable housing and a society centered around remote work.

People would still have to visit their urban offices regularly, so these remote outposts would need well-designed mass transportation to thrive. Even WFH workers must be able to access their jobs on Zoom and get to the office now and then on local transportation routes...

About the Author

Matthew E. Kahn, Provost Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California, is the business director of the 21st Century Cities Initiative at Johns Hopkins University. His books include Going Remote: How the Flexible Work Economy Can Improve Our Lives and Our Cities and Adapting to Climate Change: Markets and the Management of an Uncertain Future. He co-wrote Unlocking the Potential of Post-Industrial Cities with Mac McComas.

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