Strengthening Social Networks
Rural Life depends on a strong network of social bonds—to conduct agricultural labor, maintain cultural traditions, and support those in need. Multigenerational families, local schools and churches, and a variety of civic organizations and clubs have long provided the foundation for regular community interaction. But in recent years, a variety of factors including increasing out migration, urban sprawl, changing agricultural practices, longer work commutes, and school consolidation have weakened this network. Neighbors no longer know one another, contributing to divisions that become evident in civic debates about community issues. To insure the continued vitality of these networks, Rural by Design developed projects to explore the continuing significance of public life and to create new networks across the community.