Is “managed retirement” the new wave of rural development?

I generally write about the impact climate change has (and will have) on production agriculture. This week, however, I take a slightly different path and focus on another area of ​​USDA activity – rural development.

I recently came across an interesting article that discussed the concept of a climate change ‘managed retirement’ and what it could mean for rural communities across the country.

Managed retirement is the idea of ​​people and businesses moving out of areas that are in the crosshairs of climate change – areas like coastal towns concerned about rising sea levels or rising sea levels. ‘hurricane activity, or communities likely to face prolonged water shortages caused by extreme droughts and rising temperatures – in other communities further inland or in areas facing stress less immediate climate. This approach presents challenges, including overhauling comprehensive development strategies, infrastructure investment strategies (especially investments in telecommunications and broadband infrastructure) and housing development, but it is not. too difficult to see how this could result in significant reinvestment and revitalization opportunity for small towns, especially those close enough to large cities for easy access to more cultural and commercial amenities.

Imagine, companies and individuals (especially those who can easily telecommute) leaving the big coastal towns to settle in the small towns of the center of the department. The authors of the article even suggest the concept of a “new Homestead Act” designed to encourage resettlement in the Heartland in a manner similar to how the original Homestead Act encouraged landless people around the world to move away. to settle in what would one day become the attic of the world. It could work in a similar fashion to efforts already underway in cities like Lincoln, Kan., Where remote workers are offered free land if they’re willing to move to town and build a new home.

To be clear, all of this does not necessarily represent stated policy of the USDA or any other part of the federal government. This is all just for discussion and consideration. There are, of course, downsides to this concept, but when several rural counties in the southern plains have experienced a population loss of 20% or more and when the country’s major coastal cities may contemplate catastrophic changes in the years to come , that’s something at least worth thinking about.

If you want to know more about this concept, you can check out the full article here.

In the mid-19th century, Horace Greeley advised Orientals looking for an opportunity to “Go West, Young Man” as part of the Westward Expansionist movement. Perhaps the new rallying cry to escape some of the climate change challenges facing our cities is to ‘Go to the countryside, young people’.

About Keneth T. Graves

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