London officers launched a mission referred to as “Streetspace” final yr, creating non permanent bike lanes and widening pedestrian zones as commuters shifted to keep away from the hazards of crowded subways and buses. Paris and Barcelona have taken comparable steps.

Modifications like these, which typically would take years, are being made virtually in a single day, the British engineering agency Arup discovered. (The tempo of London’s program has prompted legal battles.) Léan Doody, who leads the built-in cities and planning community for Europe for Arup, mentioned that the pandemic had highlighted a few of the deeper points with city life, however didn’t imply the demise of town. As an alternative, it might truly immediate a push to construct again higher.

“There is a chance” because the pandemic fades from view, to “introduce new behaviors,” she mentioned.

“Maybe metropolis authorities, transport authorities and employers might take into consideration insurance policies to make a imaginative and prescient of the long run that really works for everybody,” she mentioned.

Quantifying how many individuals left Europe’s cities has been troublesome, with the pandemic complicating knowledge assortment. A study published earlier this month estimated that just about 700,000 folks left London within the final yr, principally foreign-born staff who may additionally have been reacting to Brexit.

Nonetheless, London could possibly be an outlier. A survey from Arup discovered that some 41 p.c of Londoners had moved out of town in some unspecified time in the future within the pandemic, in comparison with round 10 p.c in Madrid, Milan and Berlin and 20 p.c in Paris. The true property firm Century 21 said last summer that it had recorded a spike in curiosity in leaving Paris, however no “mass exodus.”

Property studies revealed tech workers left Dublin en masse final yr as distant work grew to become widespread.

Unaffordable housing was a ache level in lots of European cities even earlier than the pandemic, which has both exposed and deepened inequality. However distant working is “loosening the hyperlink” between housing and employment, Ms. Doody mentioned.

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