Remote workers are flocking to small, amenity-rich towns in the West, changing their social and economic landscape.
The sudden growth in telecommuting brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the commercial real estate industry as companies rethink their need for physical office space and workers embrace the benefits of the new work-from-home lifestyle. The change is also having impacts on small towns that are simultaneously losing some major employers while gaining a new influx of newly 'free' workers untethered from offices in big cities.
As the need to stay close to the work opportunities and amenities of major urban centers dissipates, more Americans are seeking out small, amenity-rich towns that offer high quality of life at low cost. These so-called "Zoom towns" offer lower taxes and relatively affordable real estate for former urban dwellers, but the double-edged "Zoom boom" is also driving up housing costs and threatening to drive out older residents in places with limited housing stock. At the same time, commercial landlords and city officials struggle to find uses for formerly occupied office buildings. One possible solution, writes Jonathan Thompson for High Country News, is converting unused offices into affordable housing to alleviate the crunch facing many of the most desirable rural communities now seeing an explosive growth in demand.
The Surprising Oil Tax in the Inflation Reduction Act
President Biden has made reducing gas prices paramount in his administration, so it was likely a surprise to hear a Republican senator last Sunday warn TV viewers that a revived and increased oil fee in the climate bill will increase their gas costs.
The Tide Has Turned Against Open Streets
Once a promising development for advocates pushing for a less car-centric future in cities, the open streets movement has ceded significant ground to cars since the height of the pandemic.
San Antonio Office Tower To Become Residential
With the building more than half vacant, the new owners of the Tower Life Building plan to convert the historic tower into residences that could include affordable housing.
Department of the Interior Forced to Intervene on the Colorado River
More questions than answers on the Colorado River this week as the federal government failed to deliver on threats to force Southwest states to cut back on water use.
Explaining Rent Inflation
The delayed effects of changes in rent costs make rent inflation a difficult figure to pin down.
Dallas Names 66-Mile Bike and Walking Trail
When complete, the newly named DFW Discovery Trail will incorporate 50 miles of existing trails into a regional ‘super highway.’
Chaddick Institute at DePaul University
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Cohousing Association of the US
City of Crystal River
Sun City Center Community Association, Inc
City of Mesa
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.