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Rethinking Post 2020 Mobilities in Cities and Regions

This is a call for contributions to a special Article Collection to be published within Regional Studies, Regional Science. This is a call for contributions to an Article Collection on rethinking post 2020 mobilities in cities and regions, to be published in Regional Studies, Regional Science.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted established patterns of firm and household location, through its far-reaching impacts across all aspects of daily life. During the peak of the pandemic, many businesses allowed employees to work from home, whenever possible, although practices varied across locations and economic sectors; schools and universities partially or fully shifted to online teaching, and homes became the educational environment for children as well as places of work; and household shopping behaviour and consumption patterns shifted rapidly, with greater dependence on online shopping and e-commerce than before the pandemic.

Combined with other sociotechnical changes, these short-term disruptions due to COVID-19 could be indicators of more long-term shifts in preferences for firm and residential location. For example, in the context of firm location, a significant number of businesses operating in traditionally high-rent CBD locations within urban and regional areas have either shut down or reduced their footprint since the onset of the pandemic, and there have been reports of commensurate growth in business activity in suburban neighbourhoods. Similarly, in the context of residential settlement, there was significant out-migration from dense inner-city neighbourhoods in large metropolitan centres during the peak of the pandemic, towards suburban and regional neighbourhoods in smaller cities.

However, evidence seems to be ambiguous on the magnitude and persistence of these effects beyond the immediate aftermath of the pandemic. Some studies contend that the pandemic has triggered a long-term structural shift in migration and settlement patterns in favour of smaller regional centres. It has been argued that increased uptake of hybrid and remote work arrangements is likely to lead to greater suburbanisation within large metropolitan areas and out-migration to regional cities. Long-term changes in activity and consumption patterns, such as increased uptake of online retail and reduced patronage at restaurants and theatres, could prompt a decline in preferences for inner-city neighbourhoods that offer high access to retail, food and recreation services. Public health concerns around future pandemics could reinforce these shifts, further encouraging suburbanisation and regional migration. Notwithstanding these arguments, recent empirical evidence suggests a potential return to pre-pandemic business location and residential settlement patterns.

This Article Collection within Regional Studies, Regional Science is intended to develop and collate understanding of the potential long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on business location and residential settlement patterns at metropolitan, regional and national levels.

We welcome insight from all metropolitan, regional, and national contexts, especially those that have been obscured within the debates about post-COVID mobilities and counter-urbanisation/return to the city.

Note that the impacts of the pandemic on international patterns of business location and household migration are beyond the scope of this Article Collection.

Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Analysis of historic household and/or business migration patterns
  • Changes in household preferences for residential living and/or business preferences for firm (re)location
  • Impacts of the pandemic on agglomeration economies and diseconomies, and implications for the growth of cities
  • Increased adoption of remote working, and effects on the shape and structure of cities and regions
  • Impacts of the pandemic on transport
  • Impacts of the pandemic on active travel and environmental dimensions
  • Long-term shifts in activity and consumption patterns, and impacts on residential and firm location patterns
  • Impacts of skills shortages, supply chain disruptions and other COVID-19 related factors on long-term household and/or business location decisions

To enquire whether a topic is in scope, please contact the Guest Advisor Associate Professor Akshay Vij:

Manuscript deadline:  10 May 2024

About the Guest Advisor

Associate Professor Akshay Vij leads the Institute for Choice and is a globally recognised researcher working in transport modelling, urban economics and labour market change.   He completed his PHD in engineering at the University of California, Berkely where he also worked as a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer.   Assoc Prof Vij is best known for his path-leading work with Discrete Choice Experiments and his ongoing engagement with industry.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure

Vij Akshay has no conflict of interest to disclose.

Submission Instructions



All manuscripts submitted to this Article Collection will undergo desk assessment and peer-review as part of our standard editorial process. Guest Advisors for this collection will not be involved in peer-reviewing manuscripts unless they are an existing member of the Editorial Board. Please review the journal Aims and Scope and author submission instructions prior to submitting a manuscript.

See call on journal page Rethinking post-2020 mobilities in cities and regions

All Regional Studies, Regional Science articles will be made freely and permanently available online through gold open access publication following payment of an Article Publication Charge (APC).

The standard article publishing charge (APC) for this journal is $1860 USD / £1460 / €1695 / $2540 AUD, plus VAT or other local taxes where applicable in your country. There is no submission charge.

A 20% discount on the APC is available for members of the RSA submitting to the journal. Please email for the discount code.

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