The Post-Pandemic City

The Post-Pandemic City

By: Abby Melone, President & CEO, Capital Analytics

It’s a truism in today’s hyper-connected world that people go where the jobs are, more so now than ever before. But what happens when your job suddenly can be done from anywhere?


The 19th century ushered in the first and second Industrial Revolutions that saw more and more people move to urban environments, precisely because that’s where the jobs were. In the United States, the rise of manufacturing opened a new world of employment possibilities, pushing people from the farm to the factory. It’s a push that in one way or another continued into the 20th and 21st centuries. The result is seen today in the population densities that cram big cities from coast to coast, border to border.

According to the United Nations’ World Urbanization Prospects report and the website Our World in Data, the world crossed over in 2007. That’s the fist year the number of people living in urban areas rose above the number living in rural areas (3.35 billion versus 3.33 billion). In the United States, around 82.3% of the population lives in urban areas, according to the World Bank. Growth trajectories project a steady increase in urbanization as far out as 2050. 

Today, the millennial generation is changing the character of urbanization by spearheading the live-work-play ethos. This generation prefers to skirt the traffic jams and live and play near where they work. The goal to have it all close by has given rise to the mixed-use building concept that puts everything – your living options, your entertainment choices and your shopping – all in one convenient location, which preferably, is near your workplace. 

It also means we are all living closer to each other in smaller and smaller spaces. That seemed to suit a lot of people just fine. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and all of sudden, none of that seemed fine at all.

The pandemic resulted in shelter-in-place orders that forced people to live 24 hours a day in their homes while also working from their home offices, if they had one, or their kitchen tables if they didn’t. The very idea of needing to go somewhere else to do your job turned out to be not so much of a necessity after all. In just a few months, priorities appear to have shifted. Now, many of us seem to crave space, the great outdoors, and we seem to be split 50-50 on whether we want to continue working from home, wherever we choose that to be, or prefer an official office setting, mostly for the socializing.

There is little doubt that the world has changed as a result of the pandemic. Most experts are puzzling on whether that change will last and just what our cities will look like as a result. The fact is, though, that change was already in play before COVID-19 hit.

My company focuses on nine major U.S. markets like Orlando, Miami, Atlanta and Philadelphia. We talk to industry and political leaders to understand the issues their communities face to gauge the direction in which they are moving. Today, everyone is talking about the pandemic’s impact on the retail sector, for example. Yet, e-commerce was already a thing before COVID-19. In 2019, a record 9,800 stores were shuttered, according to a Bloomberg report, with 25,000 closures expected in 2020 due to the coronavirus impact, the report said, citing Coresight Research. Yes, that’s a devastating impact, but the pandemic really has only accelerated the pace of implementation. It pushed more people online immediately, but those people were likely headed there anyway.

Many of the leaders we have spoken with during the pandemic agree that retail and commercial real estate was already undergoing a slowdown as industrial space to accommodate last-mile delivery for the Amazons of the world was booming. Many expect this trend will continue.

More importantly, what the pandemic has done has caused a rethink of priorities among individuals and it is this impact that will likely shape the post-pandemic city. Living in lockdown awakened people to the “smallness” of their space, forced on them by a combination of convenience and higher and higher housing prices in big cities. The median listing price for a home in Miami-Dade, for example, was $465,050 in May compared to the average U.S. listing price of $329,950, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Interestingly, population growth in Miami-Dade was already slowing as more people moved out, with escalating living costs among the factors. With the pandemic highlighting the risks of living so close together, will more people decide that farther away is not only cheaper, but safer?

Big city living will change in the post-pandemic world as social distancing forces “people places” like gyms and restaurants to accommodate lingering fears from the virus. Tens of thousands of small businesses have already closed down for good, clearly altering the very unique characteristics of cities that attracted people in the first place.

The biggest impact, however, will be on how – and where – jobs are done. Remote working is hear to stay in some form or another. Like the industrial revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, people will always go where the jobs are. For many, those jobs will now be done from home, which means that home can be virtually anywhere. It creates choice like never before, and this will dramatically alter the character, although not likely the course, of urbanization. That’s an important difference. 

Big cities have seen the ebbs and flows of population growth before and will likely see them again. Through it all, they have more often thrived than not. The post-pandemic city may look and feel a bit different – the way condo units are built, for example, may change to accommodate working from home, while adding elements like air filters to battle any future virus outbreak – and there may even be a greater push to the suburbs in the short term. Overall, however, continued urbanization likely will remain on the cards. If we’re lucky, there may just be a little more distance between all of us.


Miami Dolphins Kick Off Season With New Training Complex, Partnerships, Roster Moves

By Yolanda Rivas

2 min read AUGUST 2019 — With a new head coach and a rebuild underway, the Miami Dolphins will field a re-tooled look when the NFL’s 100th season kicks off next week. That look extends beyond the players and coaches, with a new training complex in the works and fresh partnerships that emphasize community involvement and impact. 

The Dolphins recently broke ground on the $135 million state-of-the-art training complex and sports performance clinic in Miami Gardens. The facility, named Baptist Health Training Complex, is part of a multiyear partnership with Baptist Health that is projected to open in spring 2021. 

“The Baptist Health Training Complex will be a state-of-the-art football facility with Baptist Health providing a world-class sports performance clinic available to the public so people can have access to the same care the players get,” Miami Dolphins Chief Executive Officer Tom Garfinkel said in a written statement.

The 125,000-square-foot training facility and 92,200-square foot indoor field will be significantly larger than the team’s current facility. The complex will also house an innovation hub, a state-of-the-art hydrotherapy area, a dedicated recovery area that includes cryotherapy and isolation tanks, an athletic training room with an expansive rehabilitation space, meeting rooms, an outdoor practice area with two full natural-grass fields, full indoor practice facility and other amenities. 

Another significant announcement by the Dolphins and its FOOTBALL UNITES™ program was the partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) through Values Matter Miami, which promotes education and values among the city’s students. According to an official announcement, starting in September, the Dolphins will recognize a student each month who best exemplifies a specific value.

“The Miami Dolphins are proud to strengthen our relationship with M-DCPS by supporting the Values Matter Miami Program to directly impact the students of Miami-Dade County,” Jason Jenkins, Miami Dolphins’ senior vice president of communications and community affairs, said in a written statement about the partnership. 

These initiatives are part of the Dolphins goal to inspire a healthier, more educated and united South Florida community. 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

Miami Dolphins: 

Baptist Health: 

Miami-Dade County Public Schools: 

Values Matter Miami:

Invest: Miami speaks with Jason Barker, President, ChenMed


What business advantages do you enjoy from your home base in Miami Gardens?

Our headquarters location is perfect. We are where several highways come together. Because of this, we have easy access to our clinics both north and south. Plus, the busy highway system gives us great visibility. Thousands of potential customers drive past ChenMed every day. We also benefit from a diverse and excellent talent pool with competencies in healthcare. Our centers are multilingual and multicultural, effectively serving, Cuban, Haitian, and African-American patients in convenient neighborhood locations. Our centers are not located in high-rent areas. So, we can focus more resources on serving patients; and can continually test and refine innovative approaches to care. Ours is a culture of love, accountability and passion. Our physicians annually see fewer than 400 patients on average, intentionally. As a result, our physicians frequently see patients up to 12 times per year. Because our patient panels are one-fifth as large as the national average, our doctors nurture outstanding relationships with each of their patients. Better physician/patient relationships, combined with onsite specialists, laboratory tests, medication delivery, and courtesy transportation really make Chen Senior Medical Centers special places – especially for seniors living with major and complex health challenges.

How do technology innovations improve your patient care?

Our nimble IT company, ChenTech, is constantly improving our electronic health records system and other end-to-end technologies designed specifically for medical practices that deliver value-based care. We leverage technology to empower ChenMed doctors, so they can continuingly help patients achieve better health outcomes. ChenTech offers custom services like Silicon Valley – all to help doctors stay focused on patients and best practices.

Invest: Miami speaks with Monsignor Franklyn M Casale, President, St. Thomas University


Miami Gardens faces challenges, but we are working with the community. We have many initiatives in both the public and charter schools here, and use state and federal grants to increase educational success. We also have important programs at St. Thomas University (STU) that are geared toward helping mature students who want to begin or complete a college education. We have developed many of our new programs based on what The Beacon Council, the County’s business development agency, has identified as target industries through their One Community One Goal Initiative. To best serve the employment market, we have added market-ready programs in cybersecurity and big data, along with expanded nursing and health sciences offerings. There has been a significant expansion of our business advisory board, and we have a president’s advisory board made up of mostly business people and people who are related to the different fields in each one of our schools. Additionally, we are proud that over 1,200 of our students in our undergraduate, graduate and law programs are Miami-Dade natives. The government has to remain involved in supporting higher education, especially if it is going to be more accessible. We cannot do it ourselves, especially as private independent institutions. Money is not wasted in higher education at STU. We are constantly looking at our finances in order to offer the best for our students. We need to ensure that people appreciate what we are doing and make funds available. The business community also needs to be slightly more forthcoming, not only with resources, but also with opportunities. We have wonderful higher education institutions in this community, and local businesses need to embrace this. They need to consider our institutions while recruiting. The trustees and friends of STU are very generous. We actually have scholarship funds that are entirely created through donations and private foundations. That is how we are able to help provide support for many students. The state and federal governments provide some funding, but it is not enough.

Invest: Miami speaks with Roslyn Clark Artis, President, Florida Memorial University


From an education standpoint, what are the main challenges to prepare the workforce for an ever-changing job market?

We need to focus on the technology and innovation sector, which is the significant driver of today’s global economy. We must be particularly mindful of South Florida’s needs. High demand areas like aviation and cyber security require a talent pipeline.

How can universities better connect academia with industry to best facilitate praxis?

Florida Memorial University received a significant grant from the Lilly Endowment and the United Negro College Fund. When we were writing for the grant, there was a planning phase where we met with local industry leaders on campus to talk about what they want to see in graduates, what the current market demands were and the skill sets that industries are looking for. Our faculty members then submitted ideas to better connect academia with the needs of industry. The results have been incredible and give us confidence that we are equipping our students for the jobs the market is demanding.

What are the main efforts being done to ensure the affordability of higher education in South Florida?

I am proud to say that we are the least expensive private institution in the State of Florida. We are trying to keep our costs fat because we understand the difficulties that our population has when it comes to being able to afford higher education. This is why for the past four years our costs have not increased.

How does Miami Gardens factor into the equation?

Miami Gardens is a uniquely strong location. The mayor and members of the city council have taken important steps to seek out new opportunities and investments as well as attract new businesses to the city. The stadium is creating job growth, technology firms are investing in the area and schools are opening. You quickly realize that Miami Gardens is full of opportunities.

Invest: Miami speaks with Cameron D. Benson, City Manager, City of Miami Gardens


At one time, the city owned more than 60 acres of land. The philosophy during that time was that by maintaining ownership of the land, the city would control the type of development on the sites. However, I look at it differently. My approach is that by controlling zoning and to some degree the land use, the city can encourage the best development for not only city-owned properties but also for those owned by the private sector. This allows us to attract the right companies and investors to help the city grow in the best way possible. We’ve made changes throughout the city to encourage more investment. One area in particular is the adoption of the Entertainment Overlay District (EOD) along the NW 27th Avenue Corridor. The purpose of the EOD is to encourage various uses, such as movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, retail, commercial and mixed-use opportunities. The $60-million General Obligation Bond (GOB) voted for by city residents has been a tremendous selling point to the private sector looking for opportunities. Once private investors know public investment is being pumped into a community their interest grows, and they are more inclined to invest in the vision regarding those communities. The GOB has sent a positive message to the business and residential communities that the city is willing to take the lead in making investments in its own neighborhoods. This approach has led to attracting more investment opportunities in our city, proving private dollars truly follow public dollars. We have two large tracts of land that are going through a transformation. Both will have a positive impact on our tax revenues for years to come. Finally, we constantly review and restructure the fees that investors pay to the city to ensure they are comparable with other cities. This encourages those who might want to make improvements to their facilities and, of course, for the larger scale developments.

In the zone

How strategic city planning is helping Miami Gardens grow its economy

Oliver G. Gilbert Mayor – City of Miami Gardens


What has been the city’s steps to improve development?

While the City of Miami Gardens was created in 2003, it had evolved in an unplanned way. There was neither a central commercial area nor a stream of commerce unique to this area. For this development, we needed control over the largest piece of property, taxpayer or economic generator, but we were the only city in Miami-Dade County that didn’t have any zoning or building control over Hard Rock Stadium. Miami-Dade had that control. We eventually started a series of discussions and we were able to come to an agreement and now share control and we’re the primary voice in what goes there. Having control is important because we are going to develop this area in a way that meaningfully affects how services are provided and what people can do in the city. The latter is the one that transforms the city into a community. We have seen community involvement in the referendum on the stadium. We are now working with Calder Race Course Casino to the north. We are decoupling the racing and gambling. Calder sits on 170 acres of land, and if we decouple the racing from the casino, they can have the casino without expanding gambling, and we can develop the area around it into a place where people can spend money. It will create jobs, improve the tax base, improve the general quality of life and decrease traffic. One way to improve traffic is by having restaurants, shopping and movie theaters closer to where people live. We are developing businesses by helping them to function more effectively. Hard Rock Stadium was a part of that and now we are moving on to Calder. My message is “I’ll be as fast as you are, and make it as easy as I can. What I need you to do is come here and make your money but provide services in a way that creates an added bonus for the people who live here and creates a reason for other people to visit.”

What is being done to attract business?

One of the things that is interesting is that a lot of major commercial corridors in this area were zoned for residential uses, so we changed that and added things like an entertainment overlay that allowed more uses. That means that when you bring your business here, you have more money. You can incentivize people to do things because people act in their own interest. You find a way to make your interests match theirs. The back part of Calder has now been rezoned to part commercial and part industrial. This is because we want to build an office park back there. We can keep the front edge for retail. Property developer Bridge has a huge site that used to be a landfill. We are working with them to transform that into a modern industrial park so that we can bring in more businesses.