There is no one right answer, no single solution that will “save” all rural places and small towns. That doesn’t mean ignoring rural places is right either.
Rural people and places are staggeringly diverse. In the US alone, we’re talking 60 million rural people. Add 9.5 million rural people in the UK, 6.1 million rural people in Australia and 6.3 million rural Canadians. That covers most of us who get together here by email each week.
Even those population numbers are complicated and debatable. It depends who is doing the defining and the counting and when they did it.
We don’t fit into one single story.
For every news story or media profile telling the story of one “failing” small town, there is another side of the story that didn’t get reported. Then there are thousands of other small towns that are thriving and prospering who aren’t making the news at all.
I’m not saying we don’t have challenges. We do. Here’s my belief about what will save us:
Rural areas and small towns will be saved by their own efforts combined with the regional, state and federal support that they manage to access.
We know this because there are rural areas and small towns that are thriving right now, and that is how they are doing it. The best solutions come from within.
Keep shaping the future of your town,
PS – East Brady, Pennsylvania, (population 950) has turned the windows of an empty building into a local art gallery. You have to see these pictures