How are California cities recovering from the pandemic?
Downtown Sacramento and other older major cities have not fully recovered from the COVID-19 economic downturn more than two years after the pandemic began, according to a study by the University of California, Berkeley.
Findings from the study released in June suggest that many inner-city neighborhoods are still suffering from the economic and social consequences of COVID-19, and older cities, in particular, are still struggling.
In order to survive, these cities may need to recreate downtown spaces for their residents, according to the study’s policy brief.
What does the study show?
The academic study, entitled “The death of the city centre? analyzed major US and Canadian cities and their levels of downtown activity.
Researchers observed and collected data using three-month periods, from March 2020 to May 2022, and compared this information to data collected during the same periods in 2019.
And they measured downtown activity using visits from smart devices to “places of interest” in downtown areas, according to the research brief.
Places of interest included businesses, stores, restaurants, parks, community centers and stadiums, as well as other sites that receive foot traffic.
Experts in the study suggest inner cities are seeing less activity due to remote working, especially in tech and finance. Many office spaces are now empty, creating “voids” in urban spaces.
“To survive in the new era of remote working, inner cities will need to diversify their economic activity and land uses,” said UC Berkeley researchers. Institute of Governmental Studies wrote in the guidance note.
They also said city centers are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic more slowly than the rest of the world. city and “continue to struggle to return to pre-pandemic levels”.
What about California cities?
San Francisco took last place on the list of 62 North American cities, with a recovery value of 31% from March to May this year, which is a metric that compares the number of visits in a post-COVID period to a pre-COVID period. A salvage value below 100% indicates reduced activity compared to the same period in 2019.
Los Angeles ranked 28th on the list and San Jose 43rd.
Sacramento ranked 13th of the cities analyzed, recovering 80% from March to May 2022.
Other California cities, however, ranked closer to the top of the list. Bakersfield ranked second and Fresno fourth, meaning activity in their downtown areas has increased from pre-pandemic levels.
Salt Lake City saw the most activity with a 155% recovery rate in the spring of 2022.
Portland and Cleveland joined San Francisco in having some of the lowest salvage values in the spring of 2022, at rankings 60 and 61.
This story was originally published August 29, 2022 10:38 a.m.