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Opinion
Tyler Cowen

A Vision of Post-Pandemic Suburbia

The coronavirus is likely to leave places like Northern Virginia more pleasant and more boring.

Strolling, not shopping.

Strolling, not shopping.

Photographer: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP

If the pandemic will leave New York City poorer, younger and, eventually, more dynamic, what might happen to a typical upper-income American suburb? Like, say, my home venue of Fairfax County, Virginia?

Just outside Washington, D.C, Fairfax County has a population of slightly more than 1 million, and it often ranks as one of the wealthiest counties in the country. Its economy is closely linked to the federal government and the Pentagon, and features a wide array of contractors and information technology services, very little manufacturing, and a plethora of strip malls and shopping malls — most prominently Tysons, which includes two huge shopping centers.