I am not as optimistic that a shift where the service workers follow the knowledge workers to non-metro places is going to work out well. Because the type of knowledge workers who most want to move out of the metros, are the ones who are most likely to be anti-urbanist, and thus to reinforce NIMBY politics in the places they move to. Which means nobody's going to build housing for those service workers to move into. So expect to see more insanity like Aspen trying to ban residential construction: https://coloradosun.com/2021/12/09/aspen-emergency-ordinance-permits-residential-construction-strs/

This _may_ be good news for the urban cores, because between shedding a little bit of population, and particularly having it be the worst NIMBYs, we'll be able to up-zone and build enough to house our service workforce.

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I started a virtual company in 2005 and over the years it has become more difficult to hire people who live in other states (specifically NY, IL, and CA) and their tax laws and regulations. My company is small and just trying to figure out all the jurisdictional issues in hiring one person takes time and money. Some county districts impose more regulations than the states do, as well. I want to hire the best and brightest from anywhere but at some point it's just not worth the hassle. I hired one gal as a contractor from another state. She did one project on her own time that was only worth $500. The project ended. She sued me for unemployment and won! The fine was only $8 so it wasn't worth my time hiring a lawyer over, but it could have been much worse. As more people go remotely, there's got to be a simpler way to hire employees from different states for small business.

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One thing that never seems to be mentioned in these discussions is that it is likely to lead to downward pressure on wages for remote workers.

Yes, it is very nice if one can move from a high-priced city to a lower-priced city and keep the same income - which then goes three times further (as an example). But it also holds that an employer can then hire (and integrate into the workforce) someone from that low-priced city for one-third the salary - which means in turn that there is no good reason to pay you three times as much.

Indeed, it would seem likely that the longer-term result will be a new version of international outsourcing: "insourcing" employees from Poland, or India, or some other low-wage location (and all that this implies for high-wage jobs in the USA).

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I think recent urban crime spikes are another good reason for the exodus from cities. We moved out to a Chicago suburb and there have been many young couples with kids who have done the same. Protecting your young precious assets is top priority, and the added benefit of remote work seals the deal. We have all the amenities of the city here, which are easier to access and within walking distance. Never looking back.

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I am far more interested in the number of patents pre-2019 vs today.

Glaeser and Cutler believe that workers in knowledge industries are less creative and therefore less productive over time, more than making up for the slight gains we got initially. Companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are requiring people back in the office three days a week, in spite of the impact on morale and retention. You can guarantee those companies didn’t make this decision without evidence.

Anecdotally, new employees and especially those new to the workforce suffer from the informal mentoring new people get in the office. It is impossible to acquire company culture via a screen.

Some workers are just as productive and perhaps more so when they are 100% remote. But not most in most high skill jobs. We will settle on some kind of hybrid configuration for most creative office jobs.

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"The YIMBY / Urbanist types I know aspire to build enough housing that the folks who work in the cafés, as well as teachers, cops, etc, can all live in the same neighborhoods with them, rather than commuting in from hours away."

The trouble is that it doesn't work that way at all in most large metro areas, or nearby locations. I live about 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan, and in spite of a major increase in housing stock in the form of cheap $hit apartments has only INCREASED the cost of living.

YIMBYs like to scream and shout and act oh...soooooo.....virtuous...and condemn those of us who are saying "STOP! THIS ISN'T WORKING!" If you want to make a difference you have to get in there and unearth all the issues that are contributing to the problem. You also need to understand that many of those shiny websites like "Strong Towns" that YIMBYs LOVE to quote and link to, are pretty much captive to big development. I've never seen ANY suggestion from any of these sites that isn't designed to make developers a freaking fortune.

Here's the problem: The developers are not trying to build enough housing to make things affordable. Why on earth should they? The other problem is that rental rates are no longer driven by market need or demand. These developers would rather have a half-empty building than lower their rents. Why? Because the value of the property is geared to current rental rates. The fact that half the units are vacant doesn't matter.

Other issues involve corrupted town Councils as well as planning and building departments. Any corrupt mayor or council will be happy to approve new height limits and setback rules if their palms are greased generously. This is irregardless of whether the city has the INFRASTRUCTURE for such concentrated development.

What happens when a water main breaks and the drainage system has to be dug up and replaced? The residents get to pay for it!

What happens when a developer gets the "freedom" to clear cut at the top of a hill because it's "easier" for them without regard to the water table? The residents downstream end up with flooded basements and have to PAY THROUGH THE NOSE to make their homes inhabitable.

What happens when the developer offers a pile-o-money to get out from under the "affordable housing" requirement? Bye-bye ANYTHING affordable.

Then, my favorite..is the Swiss cheese effect. These landowners are literally "flipping" properties after they've leveled the previously (perfectly sound) housing. This often displaces people who were in some of the few affordable rentals. Then they build a huge hole in the ground and decided the project is not profitable enough. It will make them far more money to sell the "hole in the ground" to another developer at the souped up price due to zoning changes. They will sometimes apply for MORE air rights and MORE density - holding the city council hostage because they know if they don't grant them what they want, they are going to have YEARS of a hole in the ground earning no revenue. Our downtown has been looking more like a moonscape than a downtown as a result. If they sell to someone else, they have to submit THEIR plans and start the process over again. This can literally go on for over a decade while these guys flip properties and change density ordinances.

So pulllleeeeaaaasse. Don't tell me it's simply a matter of building more crappy housing. There are a million reasons why this isn't working as advertised. Most of it comes down to simple greed and the fact that there are more ways to make money off of real estate than selling it and renting it.

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The bad part about having a job tied to an expensive metro area is that prices in the walkable core are stratospheric, so the merely affluent have to live in the car-dependent sprawl parts. Having the "freedom" now to live in places which are 100% sprawl feels pretty anti-climactic.

The places where I can have a pleasant walk from a condo to cafes and restaurants and shows are... New York, Chicago, San Francisco. Same as before. Whereas the set of places where you need to take the freeway to the grocery store already included the New York, Chicago, and San Francisco metro areas.

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Greetings from Kalispell! Our pleasant town is a popular destination. Housing prices are through the roof. Property values and rents have risen very high. There are not enough homes to go around. We are building new houses, mostly apartments and rental cottages, as fast as we can. Hard to find workers, and if you can find them, they can't find a place to live. But it is exciting and I think we will get through these housing hiccups and benefit from all the newcomers. :)

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It's fascinating reading the comments regarding this article. I spent a fair amount of time trying to find a single comment from anyone living in Texas, as I do. I live in Fort Worth, which will likely surpass 1M in population this year. We don't suffer the NIMBY issues here, and statewide I can't think of any city besides Austin that would have to deal with that issue. I work at a small architecture firm that was formerly located in Hurst, 7.5 miles from my home. The owners decided to shut the office down this year after we'd all been working from home since March 2020. We're all productive and satisfied with the arrangement. One of my coworkers has relocated to a lake house 75 miles away and loves it. For many professionals this is an optimal arrangement, and I believe it will continue and become more prevalent. The bosses are happy, they're set to sign a tenant for part of the office, which they own. Now other people will have to commute there; I'm content to spend less of my time on the road, I'm not getting any younger.

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This post confirms what I've supposed about the remote work transition all along: the exodus's spillover effects have the potential to bring dynamism to more affordable regions that might have seen depressing economic trends during the aughts's offshoring boom up until the present.

Rather than prioritize the development of new remote worker villages, however, how much residential slack can remote worker emigres tap into within existing exurban and suburban locales? The deciding factor, in many instances, will be running water, the quality of Internet connections, and other available amenities.

Additionally, I'm curious why this blog seems to promote benefits vis-a-vis the creation of remote worker villages; whereas leftist publications like Current Affairs discussing the creation of new cities is "trolling?" Is the difference in the size and scope?

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Balaji Srinivasan has written a book about this. He calls it the network state.

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Also worth thinking about whether there is a diversity aspect to the donut effect.


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I work remotely from hell now

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