I love to travel, to go see new places, meet new people, explore, learn new things, have new experiences. I always loved and yet struggled with that fun question of, "If you could move anywhere, where would you move?" There were so many places that I could envision living. Edinburgh? Porto? Singapore? Amsterdam? Anywhere in Switzerland? And there are still so many places yet to consider!
But my answer in 2020 is causing a longer pause for me as I consider balancing all of the elements discussed in this article. The COVID-19 pandemic's new normal is forcing many to reconsider where they currently live and where they would want to live. As this article points out, some may be reconsidering why they would stay in a crowded city where body bags were piled high.
The authors believe we are about to witness a great experiment. If the pandemic has reset corporate expectations on where work needs to take place and companies are more apt to allow for remote work, then people may be more able than ever to choose where they want to live and work. So what will impact their decisions?
Many may be looking at the pandemic map and considering those "red zones" (aka hot spots) and those "green zones" that seemed to avoid major infection and deaths. They may re-evaluate modern locations that have high costs of living (think Seattle, Milan, Madrid and Tokyo). Access to non-crowded natural spots that allow for easier walking and exercising all while social distancing may be a higher priority than before. How will access to food supply play into the thinking about where to live? And, how much will a quality healthcare system matter to people now? Will Iranians, Italians and Brazilians try harder to emigrate? Will more Americans seek out Canada? Our authors suggest that:
A new inflow of arrivals into our most expensive cities is far less likely today, with unemployment potentially hovering at 20 percent for the foreseeable future and immigration grinding to a halt. Populations in America’s largest and most expensive cities could plunge.
All that said, let's ask the question then again: "If you could move anywhere, where would you move?"
The coronavirus is upending our jobs, canceling our pastimes and messing with our social lives. Some of these effects might linger for months, even years, becoming the new normal. But the pandemic isn’t simply likely to change how we live—it could also alter where we live.