Grand Rapids is uniquely positioned for urban flight

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This past year has been filled with a number of events no one could foresee. While the pandemic blasted communities across the globe, the fallout caused many people to act in ways no one was expecting. We started to see trends emerge. As people were encouraged to social distance, they began to apply that practice to their normal day-to-day life.

CNBC reported in October that individuals are leaving large urban centers for small, less dense cities with cheaper housing. We know remote work has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for many, and Grand Rapids is uniquely positioned to welcome those looking for a great place to live, work and play.

Urban flight

It’s a term that’s been around for a while, but also one that hasn’t been in the news much until 2020. COVID-19, a competitive housing market and rising rental rates have begun to push people out of large cities like Chicago, Seattle and Detroit. Instead, these people are seeking smaller communities, where the cost of living is lower and the space between buildings is greater.

However, a lot of people who leave these cities find themselves facing an issue — they’re used to city life and the conveniences that come with it. While a cabin in the woods may seem idyllic, it’s a long shot from having a convenience store on every corner or Uber Eats at your fingertips.

Grand Rapids’ time to shine

All of this puts Grand Rapids in a very special place. Our city is just that — a city, but it’s much different than the metropolises these people are fleeing. The West Michigan community is close-knit and built on reaching out to each other. Even during such divisive moments in history, our city stands together.

We’re the fastest-growing economy in the United States and home to over 130 international companies. All of this means there are ample ways for newcomers to fit into the community and put down roots.

Grand Rapids is a big city with a small-town feel. West Michiganders have worked hard to make this a city we can be proud of. With uncertainty on the horizon in the face of the pandemic, the urban flight continues. As it does, we hope our community can open its arms to newcomers and even to those who are returning after moving in the past. The city is only as strong as its community is, and we hope to see it continue to grow and improve in the future.

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