We have been researching a bit about towns and villages that are succeeding in growing or regrowing their communities. There are not many examples sadly and far too many examples of the decline of populations and communities are far too common.
It has been suggested that economics are driving the flight from the country to the city. But we hope that people and community are not mere ciphers. That there is a delight and a desire to form social groups of friends, family, and neighbours. These were the heart of villages and communities and indeed are the opposite of the anonymity of the metros.
The main point of this note is that villages and towns that wish to recover will need to plan not only for work, which is growing with all the companies setting up distributed and remote workers, and not only for health and education, but also for amenities.
If people are deciding to move from a city to a rural base then they have many decisions to make and the community needs to help them with that. Housing, work, education need to be available and connected to the advantages that are obtained in the cities. A key tipping point is special and attractive amenities. Communities with special natural attractions and associated activities appear to be benefiting. Strong communities with say lots of beaches and sunshine for leisure hours are attractive to silver citizens, The same beaches can be attractive to younger surfers and kite boarders.
Some communities develop activities around the mountains with skiing in winter and biking and hiking in the summer. Still others develop their wildlife and natural surroundings to be attractive and to be a key advantage for people moving to the area. Others can work on yoga, creative writing, fresh air and produce or communities that are busy in the area of green or other cultural activities. Still others follow the basis of strong universities or research centres where excellence is the norm
People with similar interests tend to want to stay together. If you can develop a community feature or special benefit then that will get the initial seeds sown to make your town or village become a destination.
It’s a new challenge and one that we will come back to in future posts