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Arkansas Student

Forums about rural issues

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While I find the forums and articles here on Urban Planet very interesting/informative/entertaining (and the Arkansas discussions are always great), I was wondering if anyone can suggest a similar website(s) where rural development/growth issues are discussed.

Yes, on the surface those two words don't go together. "Rural" is congnitively the antithesis of "development."

And yet, nearly every modern "urban" area was rural at some point. Rural is a necessary ingredient of all things urban: it provides room to grow, that place where people relocate from, and the backdrop for the consequences of the change to an urban environment. There must be a place out there where folks with a similar interest like to gossip.... er, discuss the future growth of their small towns, whistle stops and wide-spots-in-the-road.

So does anyone have any off-hand suggestions?

Thanks! :thumbsup:

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I can't say I've seen anything like that. We've had a hard time getting people involved from smaller cities let alone rural Arkansas. I suppose you might be able to find something if you're talking about rural American and don't narrow it down to just Arkansas. But I personally son't know of any site. You could always try to start something here. I don't see why we couldn't have some topic dedicated to rural Arkansas. I don't mean to get your subject off topic but I've been wondering about something that's somewhat related to some rural issues. Arkansas has pretty much been a rural state. But I don't think it's going to be too far off into the future that eventually central Arkansas and NWA are going to make up a larger percentage of the state's population and will start having more control over it. Which will also mean a change in how things are done in the state. I think in a lot of ways there's still focus and influence from rural Arkansas. But when both previous mentioned parts of the state get large enough they could start shifting more issues to be directed towards a more urban direction. Especially if both metros start working more together. I was curious to see what anyone thought about that.

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I can't say I've seen anything like that. We've had a hard time getting people involved from smaller cities let alone rural Arkansas. I suppose you might be able to find something if you're talking about rural American and don't narrow it down to just Arkansas. But I personally son't know of any site. You could always try to start something here. I don't see why we couldn't have some topic dedicated to rural Arkansas. I don't mean to get your subject off topic but I've been wondering about something that's somewhat related to some rural issues. Arkansas has pretty much been a rural state. But I don't think it's going to be too far off into the future that eventually central Arkansas and NWA are going to make up a larger percentage of the state's population and will start having more control over it. Which will also mean a change in how things are done in the state. I think in a lot of ways there's still focus and influence from rural Arkansas. But when both previous mentioned parts of the state get large enough they could start shifting more issues to be directed towards a more urban direction. Especially if both metros start working more together. I was curious to see what anyone thought about that.

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We can setup something on UrbanPlanet if you have something in mind.

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Yeah it seems odd but there's topics dealing with National Parks and such on Urban Planet as well. While it does focus on urban issues that's not to say other issues such as rural ones don't affect urban areas as well. :D

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I personally agree with the idea that eventually Central & NWA, if they ever decide to work together, will become the dominant force in Arkansas for both politics and policy. Currently, the rural (and when I say that, I am also referring to some of the smaller cities & towns) parts of the state still exert a large amount of authority, and will continue to do so as long as a few things remain the same:

1.) Arkansas' economy remains driven by agriculture

2.) Arkansas remains resistance to technological & cultural change (there are many rural places in the state that are)

3.) Arkansas continues to have a low portion of the population w/ higher education or technical skills

4.) Arkansas continues to play to the "retirement" crowds who are seeking wide open spaces, peace & quiet, and a low cost of living

These are just a few of the factors that I think give rural Arkansas the leverage over our metro areas. But I believe slowly these factors will change, though the catalyst for such a change is unknown to me. As long as the majority of state policy makers hail from rural Arkansas (there are more districts there than in the metros), and as long as it remains politically popular to be from a small place (case in point: Gov. Beebe touting his "tar paper shack" beginnings; as well as our lack of Governors from Little Rock), rural Arkansas will win out over the metros. The way I see it, the metros are most likely to exert themselves through their greater economic resources.

I had thought about suggesting a subforum for "rural Arkansas," including those cities of less than a certain population, however I thought such discussions might best be left in the general "Arkansas" forum. But there are some unique issues that should be discussed. It would seem oxymoronic, since this is "Urban" Planet, to have such a forum, and I don't recall seeing such a forum in any of the other state's forums.

Perhaps one of the underlying problems in getting rural Arkansans (or Americans) to be involved here or on similar sites is the digital divide that exists between rural & urban areas. Access to broadband is truly limited in our state, and this needs to be addressed before citizens from rural areas can truly participate in the discussion.

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We can setup something on UrbanPlanet if you have something in mind.

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One thing that will shift the political power away from the rural portions of the state to the urban portions is when Arkansas will redistrict after the 2010 census. Regions like NWA will gain much more political power in the State due to its rapid population growth.

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