Over the past decade or so, London has emerged as a world leader in urban technology. It’s well-known for being a technological hub of activity and advancement. But with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the status of the city might be changing. The tech industries have been slowly dropping off.
The start of the revolution, about a decade ago, occurred when several start-up tech companies formed in the same Old Street roundabout. This led to the colloquial nickname of the ‘Silicon Roundabout.’ Capitalizing on the success, the Prime Minister then named the neighborhood and surrounding area ‘Tech City.’ That was seemingly all it took for the place to explode in technological popularity.
The tech companies have expanded past this little roundabout now. They can be found all over London, including on the West End and at King’s Cross. Tech employees work in every corner of the city.
Since coronavirus hit the city, the landscape has begun to change.
Tech employees are more capable of working from home than people in many other industries. Most of the start-up companies in the Silicon Roundabout have closed their doors until the pandemic ends, allowing employees to work from home and taking their events into virtual space.
The social interaction that used to happen in London’s vibrant heart is now happening through the internet while people rest on their couches. Many of the startups’ CEOs have moved to less cramped areas so they can continue to socially distance without needing to stay indoors completely.
Londoners have begun to notice the lack of the usual tech employees around Shoreditch. Since Shoreditch’s economy is built around technology companies, this has significantly impacted local infrastructure. Owners of restaurants and pubs report that they see barely any traffic because no one is in the start-up buildings.
London isn’t the only city experiencing these changes. San Francisco has shown similar declines in the public tech industry, with technology employees working from home. Meanwhile, so many people fled New York City that over 13,000 apartments in Manhattan now stand empty. People are fighting to reach more remote areas since the coronavirus makes living in a crowded urban landscape dangerous.