Most good jobs are still in the city centre. Competition to be close drives up house prices. Houses further out are affordable but the commute is a killer. Telework makes those houses viable, but employers are slow to take it up. Incentivise them.
The best jobs in the economy are symbolic analyst jobs which are still concentrated in the centre of the city. These are the jobs that university graduates aim for. In-person service jobs also pay best when close to knowledge workers. This CBD centralisation of the best work opportunities drives up inner ring house prices. Housing is still affordable outside commute range.
Outer ring and rural towns would be still be viable if telework were more commonplace. Teleworking would also boost the economies of these more remote housing locations, and decentralise quality in-person service jobs. High speed broadband and associated technologies are making telepresence and telework more like being there. Some companies are opening "wormholes" between offices: a permanent electronic window from one office to another.
But uptake on telework is slow because there is no financial incentives for firms to adopt. The high housing and commute costs are born by the employees. So: shift them at least in part onto the employer.
For instance: - adjust payroll tax so it is nil for home-based work days, and increased for office-based work days - many cities now charge people for brining cars into the centre during peak times: adopt these strategies for firms bringing people into the centre. - legislate that some percentage of commute time be counted as work time under the labour laws. - make all telework investment deductible in the first year - make costs of productive transport (busses and trains with wireless and guaranteed seating, which enable work during the commute) tax deductible, so that commute time is not lost time, and people can clock on as soon they board transport.
The objective of all this is to allow people to live further out, in more affordable places, while still participating fully in the knowledge economy. It will save workers commute time and money, which they can spend in and on their houses. It will also have enormous benefits for the environment, and savings on public investment in roads and rail.