CTV News | Toronto is lagging behind other cities when it comes to the return of workers downtown. Will things ever get back to normal? - Karen Chapple comments

August 4, 2022 by SofC Staff

A recent study, "Death of Downtown?,” charted the economic recovery of 62 North American cities using cell phone data to track the return of people to the urban centres.

Karen Chapple, the director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto and one of the study's co-authors, told CP24.com this week that Toronto’s recovery has been slower, partly due to lockdowns that were deeper and longer-lasting than in many other cities.

But she said that there are also “structural” issues with Toronto’s economy that make the full return of office workers to the core going forward less likely, mainly the prevalence of technology and financial services jobs that lend themselves to remote or hybrid work.

“This is a collective action problem and Toronto seems to have been very passive, waiting for individual actors to make it all better, and it's not (going to get better),” she said.

“It's going to take a real concerted effort of the public and private sectors together to figure out what are the spaces that are likely to continue to be dead in the future? What are those specific blocks? How can we liven up those blocks? How can we get new tenants there? How can we make both the private space work, the commercial space work but also the public space work? That's a problem we have together, so it is something that we should be solving together.”

Read the full article here: "Toronto is lagging behind other cities when it comes to the return of workers downtown. Will things ever get back to normal?"

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