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2021 Predictions: The Rise of Mega-Cities

February 9, 2021 Leave a comment DRI Admin

The DRI International Future Vision Committee has released its 6th Annual Predictions Report, looking ahead to 2021 and its impact on the resilience community. Click here to download the complete report free from the DRI Library, and read on for a prediction on the potential rise of mega-cities.

Prediction: The drive to mega-cities will continue despite Covid-19

Once Covid-19 is under control, the growth in mega-cities will resume but at a slower pace (at least in the short-term) with added precautions and new practices. There will be less business occupancy as more people can and will work from home. Daily commuting will become less essential for many as businesses adapt to new arrangements. Certainly, commercial premises realtors will find business difficult for several years. However, cities are here to stay, urban dwellers will adapt to what is necessary to survive and thrive – after all the majority of world GDP gets produced in urban centers, and they are where most creativity and culture happens. There are simply more opportunities for individual growth in cities, but the pandemic will change how cities are planned and utilized.

It is almost certain that most international companies will require a significant presence at the heart of major global cities. Although operational staff numbers will diminish, senior corporate management and their direct support staff will continue to work centrally. For example, JP Morgan is insisting on a return to the office citing productivity concerns. Facebook and VMware both say that they will change salaries based on cost of living if workers choose to not work in urban centers, and Deutsche Bank has proposed a 5% tax hike for those choosing to work from home.

However, less demand for centrally-located office space will inevitably reshape the city center. In the UK, leading department store chains are already closing stores and selling land for residential development. A resurgence of new living accommodation at affordable prices will further encourage younger people back to the cities. High profile employment opportunities, leading academic institutions, and medical resources will always remain major magnets for city living, as well as the proximity of the recreation, hospitality, media, sporting, and entertainment industries. Many companies and retail outlets will start to re-open, and those people looking for opportunities that do not exist in rural areas will return. Shopping habits might have been changed forever by Covid-19 but not the demand for the intellectual challenge and social life that only cities can provide.

Join us for the free online Resilience Excellence Summit Mar. 1-3 to continue the conversation. DRI Future Vision Committee Chair Lyndon Bird will be on hand with a panel on Mar. 2 discussing the findings of these reports and the shape of the coming year.