Does technology allow for country living?
A recent Ted Talk by Julio Gil entitled, ‘Future Tech will give you benefits of city life anywhere,’ discussed an interesting idea. Mr. Gil’s point of view is that with continual advances in technology, the need for people to live in the city is decreasing. He states that many people believe we are destined to continue down the path of urban growth until there is relatively no one living rurally anymore, but his viewpoint is the opposite. Pointing to the historical trend that people moved to the city and away from country life due to the need for jobs, conveniences, and socialization, he believes with technology these reasons go out the window.
Mr. Gil gives some examples of why he believes there will be a shift in the way we live, which would allow those of us who would like to live rurally the opportunity to do so. In reflecting on his podcast, it is hard to disagree with the arguments he is making.
Telecommuting is allowing so many of us to have the fabulous ability to work from home. Something almost completely unheard of twenty years ago is now becoming common place. Employers are now utilizing technology to not only keep their overhead costs down but also keep employees happy by allowing them to work in the comfort of their own homes. This win-win situation is projected to increase with the continual advances in teleconference communication tools and services. Often times the need to be in person will be limited and scheduled only as needed. Telecommuting also helps alleviate traffic issues, which is another common reason many choose to live near their jobs. Without the need to be at a central location on a day to day basis, employees will have the ability to live in a more rural environment if they choose.
With the boom of e-commerce, more and more Americans are now shopping online, making brick and mortar stores somewhat obsolete. With the ability for one to do most of their grocery and goods shopping via the internet and with home delivery services such as Amazon Fresh rising, there is really no need to live next to a large box grocery chain anymore. I believe Farmer’s Markets and buying locally will continue to be popular, as they should, but having staple supplies delivered to your doorstep allows the freedom of not having to drive miles to the store. Although Amazon Fresh type services are still in development, they are sure to be streamlined in the future, allowing a greater range of options and delivery methods. Mr. Gil points out that drone delivery services are also on the rise and being streamlined, with the ability of drone deliveries lowering costs of delivery vehicles, this will be an efficient and ‘green’ way to receive items.
One of my favorite points that Mr. Gil discusses, which I find to be particularly true, is the idea that living in the country means a lack of socialization and increased loneliness. The general thought is that living in the city allows one to feel less isolated. However, recent studies have disproved this idea, showing instead that living in a small town increases your connection to those in your community. During the times in which I have lived in the city, despite my best attempts, and I am known to be quite chatty, it seemed that city folks were more reserved and kept mostly to themselves. I often go running in my neighborhood and always make a point to wave at my neighbors. In the city, I was hardly ever waved back at. Despite my attempts to get to know them while living next door (which included leaving fresh strawberry jam on their doorsteps, I mean c’mon who can resist that?!) I never got to know my neighbors! The day we moved into our new house in the country, I had met all three of my neighbors that live on my road and had dinner and cookies being dropped off by them. In the time since we have been here, we have been invited to BBQ’s, cocktail parties and for afternoon swims. There is something about knowing you are each others closest support that makes country neighbors feel more like family. For this, I agree with Mr. Gil’s observation that once people realize the social structure of small towns, they will be less likely to stay in the city lifestyle.
Whether or not Mr. Gil is right, I completely agree with the idea that technology is greatly increasing the benefits of living outside of the city. The pro’s and con’s list my husband and I created prior to moving to the country was so short with con’s that it seemed silly to not move to the country. And advances in technology have given us the opportunity to truly have the best of both worlds. How does modern technology impact your country living? If you are longing for the rural lifestyle, are you now able to consider it with these advances? I’d love to hear!