LONDON — When the coronavirus exploded across Europe in March, it realigned city life, shifting office workers to their homes, shuttering the hospitality sector and reshuffling life for millions.
Unshackled from offices — many for the first time in their working lives — city dwellers throughout Europe began to leave, some to avoid the virus but others to to escape cramped and pricey apartments and to connect more with the natural world.
Now, nearly a year after the first lockdowns and with months more of restrictions looming, the easy assumption that most of the coronavirus exiles would naturally return once the virus was tamed is being questioned. In the reverse of the old song, the question now is not how you keep them down on the farm, but how you dissuade them from moving there for good.
For city planners and urban design experts, that means beginning to grapple with problems that have long plagued many of these cities — housing affordability, safe transportation and access to green space — but that have grown more urgent because of the pandemic.
affluent New Yorkers retreating to second homes and Silicon Valley techies scattering across the country. The phenomenon might be even more pronounced in the United States than in Europe.
“Broadly speaking, place loyalty in Europe is
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