Change is often slow and subtle. But every so often an event takes place that accelerates existing trends, causing more dramatic and widespread change. In recent years, soaring rents have been driving many urban renters toward nearby suburbs or more-affordable cities. But then, several factors, including COVID-19 and the related economic changes, created a new-found sense of urgency among renters, and sped up this movement in some areas. While what we’ve summarized here is the most visible, recent shift within real estate, it’s just one detail of a larger, more diverse story. And over the next two episodes, we’re aiming to create a more complete narrative. Today on The Top Floor, we kick off our two-part series, “A Tale of Two Types of Cities,” which explores population exchanges between US metropolitan areas. Our series begins on the West Coast.