Publications

- July 1, 2020: Vol. 12, Number 7

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The future of urbanisation: History suggests major cities — and the office sector — will continue to thrive in a post-pandemic world

by Milan Khatri

A key question is whether the experience of the pandemic and economic shutdowns will change the nature of urbanisation and real estate demand in the future. Asia’s relative success in containing the virus is likely to support urbanisation in Asia’s major cities in a post-COVID-19 environment. We believe COVID-19 will lead to the acceleration of trends that already existed pre-COVID-19, rather than creating new trends.

Are cities the problem? What does history suggest?

Cities are taking significant blame as being the principal conduit for spreading COVID-19. High population density and busy transport networks may contribute to catching the disease, but coronaviruses, such as COVID-19, are not new. The deadliest in the 20th century was the 1918 Spanish flu, which is estimated to have killed as many as 50 million people worldwide, according to the US Centres for Disease Control. And yet, urbanisation in the 1920s (better known as the Roaring ’20s) d

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