It’s Not All Bad: Urban Problems of Housing Costs and Congestion Will Be Improved, and Productivity Could Explode

We are now forced to learn how to use technology, and we will be more productive. To do many tasks and forms of work–we do not have to be physically present at a particular location. Workers and consumers will be able to do more things and do them faster through video conferencing and digitization. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Face the Nation explains: “One way to think about this is that this one month, two months period has brought forth 10 years of forward change. So all of a sudden, the Internet is no longer optional. It’s fundamental to doing business, to operate, to live our lives, all sorts of much higher expectations as a result…” For example, students are learning how to learn through Zoom classes versus attending classes. More students can have access to great universities or professor in less time and for less cost.

Housing Costs: Workers will now be able to live in different cities and far out suburbs and still work for companies based in super cities. Eric Schmidt said recently on Face the Nation: . “we’ve had this situation where people move to super cities in these incredibly concentrated ways. That will change in the next few years. You don’t need to be in the super city in order to participate in the ex- excitement of these super cities.” This counter-trend will drive down rents and housing prices in super-cities or otherwise retard their rate of increase. Agglomerations economies requiring physical presence will be diminished.

Congestion: Workers will have more flexible hours or work schedules. On some days–workers will work from home. Some workers will work from home most of the time or in remote locations or other cities and not drive into work. More people will shop on line and not need to travel to the store. More doctor appointments will be done remotely. “80 percent of the visits to doctors are right now in tele-health. People have been wanting this to happen for years. Now using remote monitoring, we can actually measure everybody and do it remotely. And then only if you have to, you go in to see the doctor”– says Eric Schmidt. Thus, there will be less cars on the road.

Productivity: we have been forced to use technology to become more efficient and do more things digitally from signing documents to using digital project management tools. Instead of spending two days attending an out of town meeting–a person can spend 2 hours in a video conference. We will be able to do more work more effectively in less time as a result of this digital transformation.

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