Impact of teleworking on urban structures

Project Details

Description

The pandemic has revealed preferences for greater levels of teleworking (working from home). With many workers and employers in favour of more teleworking post-pandemic, this will have consequences for how cities organise themselves. Therefore, the impact of teleworking on urban structures in the post-pandemic city requires further empirical testing for Europe. Teleworking decreases commuting costs, making longer commutes more affordable. Lower commuting costs increase the household budget for housing enabling people to move to larger less expensive houses in the suburbs. These factors will influence the population density profile. Teleworking may cause greater levels of dispersion and sprawl, with cities becoming less compact, challenging the sustainability levels of cities. This project contributes in several innovative ways. Firstly, we contribute to the teleworking literature adopting a nomothetic approach common in urban analytics; we simultaneously examine the internal urban structure under several scenarios for a large sample of European cities (400+). Secondly, we contribute to the scaling literature by providing the first examination of house price profiles and their gradients with a focus on the internal structure of cities. Thirdly, we challenge the current definition of cities, which use a functional urban area approach and commuting thresholds. With less commuting, these definitions no longer seem appropriate. Teleworkers have greater residential choice expanding the fringe distance and city extent. Several important research questions are addressed. How is residential choice and commuting distance affected by teleworking? Will house prices decrease in the centre and increase in the periphery? Will teleworking have a differential impact on density profiles across the city size distribution (small cities versus big cities) and across regions? To address these questions, this project will examine the internal structure of cities using a monocentric approach from city science and urban analytics, GIS methods, web-scraping techniques, hedonic models and data simulations. Commuting costs and house prices are used as tools to simulate changes in the density gradient and profile. Different teleworking scenarios are analysed, reflecting the teleworking potential of the city (share of jobs in retail, professional services etc.), on the density profiles of cities. Using a large sample has the additional advantage of providing statistical significance and generalisable results. From our results, we can say with a greater level of certainty what the impact of teleworking on density is for European cities. One of the major outputs from the project will be a dashboard that will disseminate the results, research and data to both an expert and non-expert audience supporting open-source reproducible research.

Layman's description

The pandemic has changed our attitude towards teleworking (working from home). Many workers and employers are now in favour of teleworking post-pandemic. This will have consequences for how cities organise themselves. Teleworking decreases commuting costs as workers no longer commute five days per week. Less commuting costs results in more money available for housing or other goods. Falling transport costs make suburban and periphery locations more attractive with cheaper, larger housing on offer. The movement of residence from the city centre to the suburbs will decrease population density in the centre causing greater levels of urban sprawl. As cities become less compact and more spread out, this challenges the sustainability of cities. This project examines the impact of more teleworking on house prices, commuting costs and population density for over 400 European cities. The analysis will examine within each city, enabling us to estimate how teleworking is affecting the city centre, suburbs and periphery of each city. We also challenge how we define cities in Europe. Current definitions use commuting thresholds to estimate a city’s limit. With less commuting, these definitions no longer seem relevant. Several important research questions are addressed in this project. How is residential choice and commuting distance affected by teleworking? Will house prices decrease in the centre and increase in the periphery? Will teleworking have a different impact on population density in smaller or larger cities? To address these questions, this project will examine cities using a monocentric approach from city science and urban analytics, GIS methods, web-scraping techniques, hedonic models and data simulations. Commuting costs and house prices are used as tools to estimate the change in population density when people telework more. Different scenarios are analysed. These reflect the teleworking potential of the city, share of jobs in retail, professional services etc. Using a large number of cities provide results which are generalisable and relevant to the majority of European cities. From our results, we can say with a greater level of certainty what the impact of teleworking on density is for European cities. One of the major outputs from the project will be a dashboard that will disseminate the results, research and data to both an expert and non-expert audience supporting open-source reproducible research.
AcronymTELE-SIM
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/09/2231/08/25

Funding

  • Fonds National de la Recherche-FNR
  • Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)

Keywords

  • Urban analytics
  • City science
  • Teleworking
  • Land use science
  • Geocomputation
  • Commuting
  • Residential choice