Downtown on a Precipice: An Uncertain Future Across the Country

Evening Forum


An empty street in Manhattan
Photo by Flickr user edenpictures

Downtowns and central business districts are the economic lifeblood of cities, but when COVID-19 swept across the United States early last year and office employers began instituting work-from-home policies, businesses that had long enjoyed a symbiotic reliance on offices and tourism — the retail, restaurant and service sectors, in particular — began to temporarily close in domino-like fashion. One year later, however, many of those closures may have become permanent, draining life from the cores of our cities. But is this damage irreparable, or are these places resilient enough to rebound? How important is it that they do rebound? In the first discussion of a new, three-part series, we’ll survey the current health of downtowns from around the country and explore the complex factors that they will face along their path to recovery.

+ Anne Taupier / San Francisco Office of Economic & Workforce Development
+ Robin Ried / Bloomberg Associates
+ Jessica Walker / Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
+ Raphael Clemente / West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority
+ Ken Rich / Kenneth J. Rich Consulting (moderator)


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