Do cities have a future in a world of pandemics?
The world's leading urban economist, Ed Glaeser, who came to Auckland in 2013 as the Sir Doug Myers Visiting Professor, did a pod-cast interview with John Cochrane at Stanford University. It's about whether cities have a future in a world where face-to-face interaction, which has been part of the whole purpose of cities, may become less desirable.
What I got out of the interview is that rather than look at high house prices in Auckland as some kind of failure, they also suggest an underlying high demand for the desirable features that the city has to offer. Ed Glaeser emphasizes the importance of having great schools. John Cochrance highlights the ruinous effects of burdensome regulations that can strangle innovation in a city. The podcast suggests that should Auckland, with its relatively low crime rates, pleasant climate and natural beauty, be able to increase its appeal as a place where people have the freedom to flourish without regulations getting in the way of their work and can get their children a quality education, then it has the potential to attract extraordinary talent from around the globe at this time when many other cities look depressing and bogged down in a Covid-19 mess. The government should strike whilst the iron is hot.