Sunday, July 5, 2009


I'm reading a book called "Rural by Design" by Randall Arendt. If you're interested in land or community planning it's a valuable resource, providing fairly specific antidotes to the suburban sprawl and commerial strip patterns that are so obnoxious a part of modern life. This is all good stuff.

The funny thing for me is that the word "rural" means quite a different thing than it does to the author. To me "rural" means a community that still is fundamentally connected to the land. To the author, and there's nothing wrong or right about this, "rural" means rural residential lots and subdivisions, basically pre-suburbia. Farmland and open space amount to the same thing. It's something you set aside and preserve not something that is has anything to do with the residences that will go onto the landscape. At the most you might have some "community gardens" in the plan.

I find this really odd. It's an indication of how marginal my point of view is, because I know the author has the numbers on his side.

Truly rural people need a spokesperson. Lots of them, actually. What we've got out there talking for us are a bunch of omnivorous foodies.

It's a brave and beautiful thing to live with the land, to find a spot to work with and then create some piece of a working paradise. In a world that has lost its way chasing dreams of "wealth," facades of "power," and the glamour of "high" technology, it is something rare and beautiful to be strong and wise enough to be able to feed other people.

You don't make a lot of money at it, but you get rich.

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