Better is Better than Bigger

Sometimes I just don’t know what to say. This story appeared in several papers today.

For decades, experts have insisted that new jobs, housing and highways were the keys to building prosperity among the nation’s 60 million rural Americans.

But a report scheduled for presentation today in Point Clear suggests that residents of the rural South are tired of the “more” mantra, and say that bigger isn’t always better. Instead, many want to enhance and preserve small-town character, not accumulate urban amenities as if they were Mardi Gras beads.

Such results were not what researchers had expected, according to Jim Clinton, executive director of the Southern Growth Policies Board, which sponsored the “2005 Report on the Future of the South.”

“They don’t really like it when people or organizations try to tie the success of a community to whether it’s getting big or not,” Clinton said. “They want it to get better, not necessarily a lot larger. They don’t want it to get urban.”

The story goes on to report that residents told researchers that they wanted better schools, and improvements in water, sewer and health care.

“They told us over and over again how important education is to rural revitalization,” Clinton said.

But remember, ”Such results were not what research had expected.” I suppose they were too busy trying to figure out how to bring a Wal Mart to every community.

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