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March 29, 2023  |  permalink

“The Big Rethink” with the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors

The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors™ was kind enough to invite me to speak at their monthly Webinar series in March. Past president Chris Beadling grilled me for an hour on the post-pandemic future of cities, work, retail, climate change-driven migration, “ghost kitchens,” AVs, and much, much more. Needless to say, I had a lot of thoughts:

Exciting is how Lindsey described the future of the office space. “One of the ideas that has been lying around since before the pandemic is of co-working spaces closer to home, having this palette or portfolio of workplaces to go to vs. a singular office. We’re starting to think about these remote work centers. I think there’s a whole new wave of opportunities that we could see that people as employers follow talent closer to home in the suburbs or exurbs, or wherever people choose to leave and live. But again, we’ve barely begun to scratch the surface,” he said.

Lindsey thinks small cities will benefit the most from COVID-19 changes. He said that most people prize smaller, walkable cities, that have an urban feel and character to them, but don’t have the downsides that comes with city living. He noted that as millennials age, they are looking for places to raise their children, leading them to places like Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, though he did point out that he thinks “Philly is the most underrated city in America” when it comes to cost of living vs. amenities.

“A lot of that urban life is was hit hard during the pandemic,” he said. “It became very evident that if you were a millennial, you wanted to stay in cities, but there’s very little housing stock geared towards you. You have to pay an incredible premium for that and many cities were content to simply push you out into the exurban periphery. Cities need to think about.”

Mixed-use buildings may also be the way of the future. Combining office space with retail and restaurant spaces can be successful, Lindsey said. “Design big indoor and outdoor bars and barbecue restaurants and then put in flex workspaces around it. I love the idea you bring your kids there. You’d have a pint of a micro brew and then maybe you’ll write some emails while you’re there and I think that points to some interesting ideas about like socializing comes first. Then you stay in the area and do these other things, so it’ll be interesting.”

You can read the entire recap here.

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Greg Lindsay is a generalist, urbanist, futurist, and speaker. He is a 2022-2023 urban tech fellow at Cornell Tech’s Jacobs Institute, where he leads The Metaverse Metropolis — a new initiative exploring the implications of augmented reality at urban scale. He is also a senior fellow of MIT’s Future Urban Collectives Lab, a senior advisor to Climate Alpha, and a non-resident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Strategy Initiative.

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