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Survey reveals people planning exodus away from city centres

More than half of people who live in urban areas and city centres are considering moving to a different location, as a result of the pandemic, according to a new survey.

The survey by professional services company GHD found 51% of people in urban areas and city centres said they were considering moving home, compared to 48% of those living in suburban areas.

It also found more than a third (34%) of people anticipate an increase in home working following the pandemic – of these, 51% previously did not work at home at all before Covid-19.

And the proportion of shopping done online in the UK expected to increase from 30% pre-pandemic to 46% going forward.

‘At the beginning of 2021, some large cities experienced dips in population, demonstrating the extent to which changing work practices, and the prevalence of online shopping, are increasingly making location a choice for some, since proximity to workplaces and physical shops is now less of a consideration,’ said GHD executive director, Tim Mawhood.

‘Early signs already suggest that peri-urban areas are growing in popularity, as some turn their back on living in densely populated city centres in favour of local living.

‘What is certain is that town and city leaders must ensure their regions have a long-term vision for living and operating sustainably in order to attract both businesses and residents. The list of large corporates with ambitious net zero carbon and ESG targets grows by the day, and these companies will want to locate their offices in areas that boast the sustainable infrastructure that will help them meet their ESG goals.

‘Similarly, people will be increasingly drawn to areas that support their own personal efforts to live in a more sustainable way by promoting a circular economy; for instance, through the provision of reliable electric vehicle charging infrastructure, sustainable water supply and solar energy initiatives,’ added Mr Mawhood.

‘Towns and cities that can communicate the sustainability programmes and targets they have in place, or intend to implement, will gain an economic and social competitive advantage over those which cannot. This increase in competition will, in turn, drive more innovation in this area, which will be very welcome and build positive momentum towards genuine sustainability outcomes.

‘GHD is committed to working with local authorities to ensure that they have robust ESG strategies in place to attract the investment, skills and talent needed to boost economic growth. Those that do not prioritise investment in green technologies and infrastructure may well be left behind.

GHD’s full whitepaper, entitled – The World of Energy Post-COVID: How changing attitudes and behaviours will shape the way we power our future – can be found here.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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