Lifestyle Working from home will reshape our cities

Working from home will reshape our cities

Is working from home putting you out of shape?

It may be the same for our capital cities due to COVID-19.

New Australian research is showing how working from home (WFH) could not only change our lives, but also our major cities.

A Victoria University study shows that if, as expected, working in your pyjamas at home becomes a permanent thing after the pandemic, urban sprawl and disparities between regions will worsen.

Modelling by the university’s Centre of Policy Studies, led by Senior Research Fellow Dr James Lennox, predicts working from home could become the norm for the 30 per cent of Australians working in managerial, professional and clerical occupations.

The modelling suggests many of these workers will want to move out to the urban fringe, where housing is less expensive, if they have to commute only one or two days every week, expanding city residential areas by 3.6 per cent.

“Our modelling indicates people in WFH occupations will be more likely to live further from city centres if their weekly commuting costs are lower. The net effect is to shift housing demand outward,” Dr Lennox said.

But at the same time, more businesses and other organisations will move into city centres, thanks to lower real estate costs – as will many retirees.

It will become cheaper for businesses and commercial tenants to cluster together, boosting growth and jobs in major cities, while depressing many regional cities and towns.

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