Post-COVID Urbanism Discussion

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Why lock the most interesting thread on the forum? I think the CBD may have to reinvent itself into more of a neighborhood/draw. Personally I’d like to see more pedestrian only streets, murals, anything that draws people in. And since everyone is spitballing, coasts emptying out ? Lol no. Never been to Cleveland etc and never going. Covid will end and people will probably work from home more which is great but they’ll also go back to the office, back to fitness studios, travel. I get uncertainty/risk but I also question people panic buying in the suburbs.
 

DZH22

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Ya...still don’t have to go. Lol. Nice looking buildings though.
 

DZH22

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Ya...still don’t have to go. Lol. Nice looking buildings though.
Worth stopping if you ever take a road trip out to Chicago. It's right on Route 90. (yes same as our Route 90) I spent a lovely half hour on a weekday back in 2010, from about 6 am to 6:30 am.
 

DBM

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Believe it or not you're missing out on 2 of the best skyscrapers in the whole country and a clean, walkable downtown. It's underrated a bit.
But why go to the pain and expense of visiting, with the added aggravation of the corona rampaging across the heartland, when you can enjoy, in the COVID-free sanctuary of your own domicile, this stunning tour-de-force promotional video, produced (as noted) under the guidance of the Cleveland Tourism Board?


NOTE: the inaugural effort was so sensational, that very same Cleveland Tourism Board, bowing to overwhelming public pressure, had no choice but to green-light an equally incandescent follow-up effort:

 

DZH22

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^^Haha I have actually seen those before! They do recognize the 2 awesome buildings in the first one!

2nd one - Cleveland: We're not Detroit!

Edit: They made another one. It's also pretty funny. Still not Detroit!

 
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bakgwailo

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i mean a consideration on tech right now is that there have been huge layoffs in the sector and from what i've heard there's a lot of shadow vacancy right now in CBD as a result of that. A lot of the "knowledge" economy in boston could get whacked if the VCs retrench and reconsider viable investment opportunities. I mean when i think of my friends from business school who went to join startups out of school 5+ years ago you'd hear the business plan and think "jeez how the heck is that ever going to work" but there's a ton of froth in that market so people were getting funded. it'll be an interesting ride for boston if the cash spigot gets shut off on tech / tech start ups need to move out of the city to cheaper options because there's not a fund with an unlimited check book behind them willing to front the losses for years until they hit viability.
Ancedotal, but everyone I know who got laid off in software so far have been able to find a new gig (generally higher paying) within 2 weeks. The labor market and shortage for software engineers was, and is still, real.
 

Rover

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Ancedotal, but everyone I know who got laid off in software so far have been able to find a new gig (generally higher paying) within 2 weeks. The labor market and shortage for software engineers was, and is still, real.
I appreciate stoweker's insider knowledge but he's using it to pimp a preconceived opinion that there will soon be a mass exodus of jobs and people to cheap places. It's like if someone worked on the sports book at a Vegas casino and knew a lot about that business, but then they kept telling you that all the smart money is on the Browns winning the Super Bowl next year. If you found out he'd been saying that for the last 10 years, you might view his opinion differently even if you don't question the technical knowledge.
 

stoweker

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I appreciate stoweker's insider knowledge but he's using it to pimp a preconceived opinion that there will soon be a mass exodus of jobs and people to cheap places. It's like if someone worked on the sports book at a Vegas casino and knew a lot about that business, but then they kept telling you that all the smart money is on the Browns winning the Super Bowl next year. If you found out he'd been saying that for the last 10 years, you might view his opinion differently even if you don't question the technical knowledge.
hey take it as you will, i'm just parroting what i hear on research calls. look who knows where this thing goes but the knee jerk reaction is deurbanisation, but my crystal ball is as clear as anyone else's.

any who knows, browns are as good a bet as any this year, if there isn't an NFL season does that mean that everyone wins their superbowl pick if no one actually loses?
 

meddlepal

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I have grown skeptical of the deurbanization arguments due to an increase in remote work. I've been in software for awhile and worked everything from early stage startup with three guys in a closet to MegaCorp at this point. I have also worked a mix of jobs where it was in-office or fully-remote.

The loss of collaboration among workers is real. More shit got done going for walks, eating lunch, or after work drinking together than it did in the office by just sitting around, but still the human to human interaction was invaluable. I am working a fully remote gig right now with a team several thousand miles away (even before Covid) and the loss of collaboration is real. Second, it really requires extremely good communication and really good senior engineers to pull off effectively.

Communication is a problem a lot companies struggle with in offices. I fail to see how throwing the extra variable of remote work is going to help.

Good senior engineers are expensive no matter where they are and they tend to have a lot of competing offers.

Other industries? Who knows... I think it is a mixed bag of outcomes.
 

shmessy

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Believe it or not you're missing out on 2 of the best skyscrapers in the whole country and a clean, walkable downtown. It's underrated a bit.

Just imagine if we were getting something like these instead of a graceless pig of a building.

Cleveland Skyline by Erik Drost, on Flickr

Edgewater Park Sunrise by Erik Drost, on Flickr
Thank you!!!

You just made the point - - - skyscrapers alone (while nice and supercool) do not make a city great nor interesting.

It's what happens at street level.
 

DZH22

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Thank you!!!

You just made the point - - - skyscrapers alone (while nice and supercool) do not make a city great nor interesting.

It's what happens at street level.
It's limited but has some nice bones. Certainly more interesting than you give it credit for. The 2 showstoppers are a differentiating feature compared to most other midwest cities. Unlike Southern cities, Midwest cities developed earlier but much of them have been hollowed out from a long-haul downturn. They have the inner city bones but aren't filling the gaps like the coastal cities.

Euclid Avenue by Erik Drost, on Flickr

Playhouse Square by Erik Drost, on Flickr

East 4th Street by Erik Drost, on Flickr

East 4th Street by Erik Drost, on Flickr

Late Day Light by Thom Sheridan, on Flickr
 

Rover

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If workers are so desperate to leave "high cost cities", why are "secondary cities" having to pay them cash to lure them out??????

Something doesn't compute.......
Agreed. I too appreciate stow's insider knowledge and promise I'll keep this on point as it relates to Winthrop Square, but...

Several recessions ago the latest corporate management fad was you need to operate with the cheapest workforce possible. That lead to outsourcing overseas, cutting the organization to the bone so there were no redundant employees, moving HQ and other operations to lower cost states. etc. I saw a lot of this in the first decade of the 2000's from my vantage point although its always been there except for maybe in the dot com boom of the late 90's.

The problem with this approach is that management's job isn't to find the cheapest employees. Its to find the BEST employees. So if you're as lean as you can be, and someone leaves, and then the rest of the company are cheap dimwits who can't cover the job, you've got a problem. This trend has been reversed as of late, sometimes to significant press coverage (insourcing of tech support that we hear about occasionally for example). So the more recent approach is having both good, if not necessarily cheap, and flexible employees and a pipeline of talent that can move up or be hired if someone leaves.

Why does this matter and how does it relate to Winthrop Square? If you're planning on moving your business elsewhere to take advantage of a lower cost of living, two things need to happen. Either 1) your employees want to relocate and are willing to take lower compensation to live somewhere cheaper, or 2) if they don't want to move there's a deep talent pool wherever you're trying to go to replace them with. This is why you're not seeing a mass exodus of companies moving to West Virginia, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas or Wyoming, but you will see companies moving to a place like Texas. Where Winthrop Square comes in is that the city and region needs to keep building office space, residential, hotels, etc so that costs of renting space don't reach Manhattan type levels and force companies who aren't driven by cost to rethink that approach. Boston has thus far done a pretty good job of this, and needs it to continue.

So to summarize, its not "if you build it they will come." It's "if you build it they will stay!". ;)
 

Johnnyrocket891

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There is demand in living in the city but at what price? I'm sure the public would buy condos at 80K-200K a unit and they would fill vacancy fast. The problem is how much ROI is it for MP to actually build the building and actually profit from it?
Under the current market conditions and the current uncertainty to the global monetary system this building most likely won't make it. (Bad Timing--call it a BlackSwan event)

Boston will remain desirable for deep pocket investors to pickup whatever scraps are left by developers that are over-leveraged from the current crisis.

There is definitely change coming to Mass and the higher education sectors might actually begin to see a downtrend in student enrollment.

These are interesting times might be opportunity for the ones that are prepared.

Those are some amazing pictures and architecture to the Cleveland downtown. Why not start a new thread focused on Cleveland downtown. Keep the focus on Winthrop project.
 

jklo

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The loss of collaboration among workers is real. More shit got done going for walks, eating lunch, or after work drinking together than it did in the office by just sitting around, but still the human to human interaction was invaluable. I am working a fully remote gig right now with a team several thousand miles away (even before Covid) and the loss of collaboration is real. Second, it really requires extremely good communication and really good senior engineers to pull off effectively.
This is true but the longer this goes on, the harder it's going to be to go back.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Comes with caveat that "COVID Sociology" is the most embryonic of study subjects, so take with changeable caution.

But density statistically appears to be gaining the upper hand over sprawl when it comes to disease containment and lower death rates. Which implies that the cities are a'ight, the suburbs a lot less so going forward. Reasons detailed within and so on & etc. Definitely not a conventional-wisdom line of analysis.
 

George_Apley

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This is true but the longer this goes on, the harder it's going to be to go back.
I imagine that there will be a new paradigm, not the old "most everyone commutes to the office 9-5" model, but neither the "everyone sits at home on Zoom meetings" model. It will be somewhere in between. More decentralized certainly, allowing for the collaboration that's needed in shared spaces, but also much more willing to let people get their individual work done from wherever works best for them. I'm sure company culture will determine how different companies "reopen" out of quarantine.
 

George_Apley

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Comes with caveat that "COVID Sociology" is the most embryonic of study subjects, so take with changeable caution.

But density statistically appears to be gaining the upper hand over sprawl when it comes to disease containment and lower death rates. Which implies that the cities are a'ight, the suburbs a lot less so going forward. Reasons detailed within and so on & etc. Definitely not a conventional-wisdom line of analysis.
In many ways that makes a lot of sense. Density allows people to remain hyperlocal for most things and delivery is faster and more ubiquitous. Sprawling communities have a much more "errands"-based economy, which could potentially throw people into more mixes more often. Who knows. It may be that city-dwellers have adopted more precautions, like masks, than folks in the burbs.
 

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