By Peter Dizikes
The Covid-19 pandemic has reduced how often urban residents intersect with people from different income brackets, according to a new study led by MIT researchers.
Examining the movement of people in four U.S. cities before and after the onset of the pandemic, the study found a 15 to 30 percent decrease in the number of visits residents were making to areas that are socioeconomically different than their own. In turn, this has reduced people’s opportunities to interact with others from varied social and economic spheres.
“Income diversity of urban encounters decreased during the pandemic, and not just in the lockdown stages,” says Takahiro Yabe, a postdoc at the Media Lab and co-author of a newly published paper detailing the study’s results. “It decreased in the long term as well, after mobility patterns recovered.”