Living away from the city and working from home may be desirable to some. Many more prefer to be closer to where the action is meaning restaurants, entertainment, services and people. They appreciate high-rise condo living in an urban area without the need to own one, maybe two, cars requiring gas, maintenance, repairs and insurance.
Commuting is easier and often faster using public transit, particularly when you reside on a major transit route, or near a subway station or bus depot. Riding or walking to work is better!
Little of this is likely to change as our city recovers from COVID.
COVID has made some reconsider living choices over the short-term they may soon regret. Working from home has its disadvantages. There is isolation, and less ability to stand out and excel. Working as a team and developing innovative ideas is more difficult. Zoom, for all its conveniences, does not replace personal interaction. It does not replace meeting friends and associates after work at a restaurant, bar, sporting event or art gallery.
The draw of urban living will continue long after COVID has become a memory. High-rise condo living adds to this draw by offering better amenities, lower costs and fewer responsibilities thus making it easier to enjoy a higher quality of life without an above average income.
Toronto will recover from COVID because of its allure and dynamism. Suburbs have nothing comparable to curbside patios with people walking or riding by. Our great cities have survived the plague, influenza epidemic and 9/11. London survived World War II despite the blitz during which 45,000 bombs were dropped that destroyed 60 percent of all houses while killing 32,000 and injuring 87,000. COVID will recede in our memories as these tragic events have.
The draw of urban living will continue with young families moving to desirable neighbourhoods and fixing up properties. The cost of this will be partially supported by renting out rooms or basements to others that desire urban living in a vibrant, fun and safe city. Many will live happily in their city without owning a home as they do in New York City, Paris, London and Berlin. To them it is worthwhile to be closer to where the action is.
Suburban areas will continue to remake themselves in ways that emulate the city.
In the extremely unlikely event that our city does not recover from COVID urban sprawl will worsen along with traffic congestion. The environment and our health will suffer. Despite the drawbacks of urban density, loss of it will make things worse for a great many people.
COVID is just a passing phase in the evolution of Toronto and its regions.