Have our cities changed?

Covid restrictions are being tightened in the wake of a perilous ‘second wave’ sweeping the globe. The new tsunami of infections has forced governments to drop their not wholly successful efforts to coax city workers back to their desks, prompting Hartley Milner to ask…are we seeing the end of the city as we know it?

At the height of lockdown, our screens flashed dystopian images of once bustling commercial centres where nothing stirred but perhaps for a few plastic bags bowling like tumbleweed down canyons of empty office blocks. These stark scenes hinted at the cataclysmic impact the pandemic would go on to have on world economies in the coming months.

The financial cost of the crisis could be as high as $4.1 trillion, or almost five per cent of global gross domestic product, according to the Asian Development Bank. The bank reports that one likely outcome will be accelerating food price inflation, even as lower commodity prices help mitigate any spikes, before easing in 2021, at the earliest.

So it is clear why governments have been pushing hard to get key financial hubs thriving again, especially with a world recession looking certain by the end of the year. In June Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, reversed his formal advice to work from home if possible and urged people to get back to their workplaces to help the economy recover from its 20 per cent contraction in the April-June period, the largest fall among major developed economies. “What we are saying to
people is…it is now safe for you to return to work,” he said.

The new ‘norm’…

Read more at: The European Clearing Journal 

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