Will remote work change central business districts?

Karen Lightman, executive director of Metro21 Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, made the same point.

“When you are coming up with novel new technology, there’s something about whiteboarding in a room with food that you are sharing,” she said. “There is something about that energy and that trust that you cannot build over Zoom.”

However, the central business districts of growing cities like Dallas and Charlotte, North Carolina, also have benefitted from growth of jobs and development of corporate headquarters in suburban areas. Their central cities have grown at a slower rate than their fast-growing suburbs.

The story is different for around 80 shrinking cities, such as Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, and St. Louis, where the region as a whole is growing only slightly, or contracting. In those places, the city core generally has suffered disproportionate job losses.