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How the Pandemic Is Reshaping Buildings, Cities


(Want to learn more about how the pandemic is reshaping office space? Join us for our roundtable this Wednesday, 4/14 at 1 pm EDT. Here's how to register.)

Institutional and commercial facilities are not likely to return to a pre-pandemic state of operations for years, if they ever do. Beyond the physical changes, though — from HVAC system upgrades and reconfigured workspaces — the pandemic has altered the nature and level of involvement that workers have with traditional commercial offices.

More than one in five company executives expect a reduction in office space in the coming year, according to Politico. The data reflects a changing vision of work accelerated by the pandemic. Building owners want workers to get back to the office safely and quickly, but many employees have enjoyed working from home.

The shift in favor of remote is reshaping the entire nature of cities. A year after the coronavirus sparked an exodus of workers from office buildings, what had seemed like a short-term inconvenience has become a permanent, tectonic shift in how and where people work, according to The New York Times.

Major corporations, including Ford in Michigan and Target in Minnesota, have said they are giving up significant office space because of changing workplace practices. And no U.S. city must reckon with this transformation more than New York, and in particular Manhattan, an island whose economy has been sustained by more than 1.6 million commuters every day.

Dan Hounsell is Senior Editor, Facility Market

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