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Building Better: How real estate developers can create more inclusive catalytic development projects
Brookings
2024.03.18
Aside from a few recent economic shocks―such as the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March 2023 and the rapid emergence of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems―a sense of relative normalcy has settled over much of the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment rates are low, concerns about the Great Resignation have passed, supply chain disruptions have decreased, and many walkable urban and urbanizing suburban areas are thriving. The fate of downtowns is an unfortunate exception. Uncertainty and fear about their economic future is almost as prevalent as at the peak of the pandemic.
The most apocalyptic visions of the collapse of American downtowns are not inevitable, nor are they particularly novel, as Tracy Hadden Loh and Hanna Love recently wrote. But even if downtowns are not destined to be objectively worse off than they were before the pandemic, they will certainly be different, and public and private sector leaders are trying to anticipate and shape their direction. Nearly every mayor of a large city is working on a downtown revitalization strategy, often with an eye toward a more balanced mix of office and residential real estate. Businesses continue to reassess their remote work policies and, accordingly, their office real estate footprints. And real estate developers and investors are rethinking their portfolios and strategies in response.
"Real estate is the largest asset class in the U.S.... Changing how real estate is done and by whom could help ensure economic recovery in American cities and regions is more inclusive"