The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great deal of economic uncertainty at the state and local levels. Whether or not the virus is contained in the near future, local governments must provide flexibility in housing, zoning, and transit policies to help their communities recover.
Urban communities can strengthen their economies and address uncertainty in the wake of the pandemic by enabling greater commercial zoning flexibility, embracing pop-up businesses, and reforming business permit processes. Housing restrictions that impede homeless shelters, construction of housing additions, and short-term housing make the United States less resilient to a pandemic. These restrictions should be repealed to improve housing for those most at risk from the virus. To advance the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, cities should prepare for increased traffic congestion, but become friendlier to non-vehicular traffic in the long term. Eviction moratoria are set to expire across the country. Extending the moratoria may sound good on paper, but it risks exacerbating the pandemic’s local economic impacts in unforeseen ways.
Emily Hamilton, Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Urbanity Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Salim Furth, Senior Research Fellow and Co-Director of the Urbanity Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Jenny Schuetz, Research Fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution
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