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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.


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.