Post-Pandemic Economy will Result in Major Shifts in Land Use

As businesses continue to struggle amid the COVID-19 pandemic - combined with an increasingly challenged brick-and-mortar retail sector prior to the pandemic - land use across the nation could be altered significantly during the post-COVID-19 economy.  Major land uses are likely to change fundamentally over the near- and long-term for housing, retail, restaurants and entertainment venues, office, light industrial, and recreation. The following presents some key impacts and opportunities by land use.

Municipal parks and trails

    Municipal parks and trails

    A consumer culture shift has been underway since the last recession and it continues to tilt, increasingly, towards the consumption of experiences and not things. Municipal parks and trails will benefit from an increase in use, as residents seek safe recreational alternatives to indoor facilities.
    Light industrial

      Light industrial

      Light industrial demand will remain strong, as ecommerce and same- or next-day delivery demand increases.
      Suburban office parks

        Suburban office parks

        Suburban and urban office vacancy is, likely, to rise dramatically and remain at elevated rates for the foreseeable future. These large obsolescent office parks can be potentially converted into light industrial or mixed-use residential.
        “Pop-up” retail

          “Pop-up” retail

          Increasingly, many struggling small retailers and restaurants are creating vacancies in downtown areas. Allowing for "pop-up” retail business in vacant storefronts can help revitalize downtowns.
          Mixed-use shopping malls

            Mixed-use shopping malls

            Many large retailers are closing or reducing their physical footprints. As such, there will be opportunities to redevelop obsolescent shopping malls into mixed-use retail centers.
            Live-work housing

              Live-work housing

              These homes enable an owner or renter to start a small business, use the space as an art studio, or rent it to another business to help pay the mortgage. Demand for these units is growing, and zoning should adapt to meet this demand.
              Multi-generational housing

                Multi-generational housing

                Demand will increase for housing that accommodates multi-generational living, slightly greater than the demand for multi-family rentals that have seen explosive growth over the past decade.