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What Rural America Has to Teach Us
David Brooks/The New York Times, March 21, 2019.
nebraska  rural  davidbrooks 
21 hours ago by markcoddington
Urban innovation doesn't have to leave rural areas behind — Quartz
"A nice house in the country is an aspirational lifestyle for many: a little place in Norfolk or Maine, a few acres of land, an old farmhouse that’s been nicely retrofitted, maybe a few solar panels on the roof. You could grow some of your own vegetables in the garden and use the internet to video-conference into the office. You’d be back to the land, with all the creature comforts of the city.

But it’s very expensive to pull yourself out of Western industrial capitalism and give yourself the simpler life. If you try and do that in Britain, it’ll cost at least £300,000 (USD$380,000) to buy the place and get it set up. Then you’ve got to spend £20,000 to £50,000 a year to maintain your lifestyle on top of that. You’re basically going back to what the original builders of that farmhouse had, but the difference is that now you have an internet connection, clean water, and solar panels—and it cost you nearly half a million pounds to get there.

For so many of us, the urban phase of existence is seen as an on-ramp that will hopefully one day take us back into the rural phase; the city is where you come to make the money to buy yourself back out into the country. A simple rural life is the golden apple at the end of the capitalist trip, the brass ring that 30 or 40 years of successful work buys you. But it’s also a paradox: We want to pay to live in the near-poverty that the original builders of our dreamy farmhouse were working to escape.

That was 1600s England. Modern-day South America, India, parts of China, and most of Africa essentially have the same lifestyle niche that most of Britain had in the Elizabethan era. Their standard of living is very low. Their water is dirty. The open fires on which they cook on emit a lot of smoke, so everybody is smoking the equivalent of 20 cigarettes a day. There are all kinds of terrible diseases that lower life expectancy, and somewhere between one in five to one in 20 children will die before the age of five.

But rural life doesn’t have to look like this. It is my prediction that in the 21st century, the villagers of Africa, India, and South America will leapfrog over the city—and the rest of Western industrialized society. Instead of aspiring to migrate to the cities to make a bunch of money, the rural farmers of the developing world will be soon able to stay where they are with low-cost, local, distributed versions of all the critical amenities they need.

Start with a building, like a mud or thatched hut. Put a cheap, water-resistant coating on the outside and some solar panels on the roof, just enough to charge your cell phone. Thanks to cheap water filters—you can buy them for about 30 quid now—you’ll also have clean drinking water. There are some great designs from an English outfit called Safe Water Trust that are even cheaper, and they’ll last more-or-less forever in a typical village context.

With your phone charged, you’ll be able to access the internet; rural areas are increasingly equipped with 3G, 4G, or soon-to-be 5G connections. Your kids will therefore be able to get an education off your tablet computer—which now can cost as little as $35—and those solar panels on the roof can keep it running. You can make some money, too, like doing a bit of translation work for your cousin who lives in New York, or some web development for your ex-colleague’s start-up. You’re still growing your vegetables out the back, but now you can look up crop diseases, and there’s this thing called permaculture that you’re also taking an online course in.

Humans need to explore this mode of living if we are to continue catapulting down this materialistic path. When we wind up with a global population of 9 billion, where everybody has two cars and a four-bedroom house, there’s no other way of arranging the pieces. There isn’t enough metal in the earth, never mind enough money.

We’re therefore at a dead end. Inequality is here to stay. But inequality doesn’t have to mean abject poverty. These rural communities will have access to self-sufficient peasant agriculture, education by internet, and a standard of living that is roughly what we aspire to have when we get rich and retire—but they’ll be able to achieve it without going through the urban hyper-capitalist phase first.

This notion of rural life will be centered around the bicycle, the solar panel, and the tablet computer instead of the Land Rover, the diesel generator, and the combine harvester. A life of stable self-sufficiency, rather than precarious plenty. If leapfrogging rural communities can manifest an existence that would satisfy the lawyer-turned-faux-farmer, the notion of rural-urban-and-then-back-to-rural migration would reach the end of the cul-de-sac."
cities  rural  leapfrogging  vinaygupta  2018  capitalism  solar  internet  web  connectivity  simplicity  decentralization  mobile  phones  smartphones  technology  tablets 
2 days ago by robertogreco
This Airbnb in Japan attracts thousands of visitors each year — Quartz
The heart of Yoshino resides in a narrow, A-frame house along the banks of a mighty river. Yoshino Cedar House is an extraordinary, community-run Airbnb that has drawn international visitors to the remote village in Nara, Japan since it opened in 2017. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket  japan  rural  tips  travel 
2 days ago by ChristopherA
The Future is Rural: Food System Adaptations to the Great Simplification
one graphic shows this, in general, the more rural a country, the less fossil fuel it uses per capita
rural  ruraldevelopment  climatechange  climate 
18 days ago by afunk
looking at adjusting laws for adult , little $$ for needs at , opioids & wor…
aging  NCPOL  guardianship  rural  NCGA  from twitter_favs
18 days ago by andriak
Who Will Save These Dying Italian Towns? - The New York Times
BUT THE FARTHER ONE gets from major cities like Florence or Rome, the more difficult it is to attract weekend tourists. Deep in Sicily, off a terrible road whose signs resignedly warn of potholes, lies the isolated town of Sutera, built around the base of a steep mountain. In 2013, at the behest of its mayor, the town opened its doors — and its empty houses — to survivors of the catastrophic Lampedusa shipwreck, which killed more than 360 refugees. Sutera’s population had dwindled from 5,000 in 1970 to just 1,500, and the mayor recognized the humanitarian and economic opportunity the migrants could provide for his moribund town. To help the refugees, most of whom are from sub-Saharan Africa, integrate into the community, they are paired with local families, and required to take Italian lessons, given to them by the town’s citizens. (The European Union provides funding for food, clothing and housing, which can spur the creation of jobs for both migrants and locals.) Initially, there was some resistance, but that has disappeared with the energy these newcomers have brought to the area. Today, one can find young Nigerians taking their morning espresso alongside the old men, and local childre
italy  migrant  immigration  economics  rural 
23 days ago by juliusbeezer
How to pick the right router for 3G/4G broadband
Some very solid advice here.
People regularly ask me what router or antenna to get for mobile broadband.  Most people who ask are in rural areas that are stuck on a slow DSL or fixed wireless connection. [...] This article will mainly focus on routers, see my other article for antenna advice.  I recommend that one first sees how they get on with a suitable router as an antenna may not be necessary. 
3g  4g  broadband  hardware  modems  wireless  rural 
4 weeks ago by jm
Will Satellite Operators Become (Rural) Mobile Operators? - NSR, Feb 2019
"Connecting the “other 3 billion” is a recurring motto for the satcom Industry. Unfortunately, the reality is that the impact on mitigating the digital divide is still modest. Mobile is the de facto way of getting online for “the bottom of the pyramid” but here, satellite can still find enormous opportunities by complementing the gaps of terrestrial networks. Given this trend, are Wi-Fi hotspots over satellite the key way for satcom to bring the unconnected online?"

"Numerous actors in the satcom space are launching Wi-Fi hotspot offers to serve the low-end segments of the market. The addressable market for these kinds of solutions is massive given the billions living in underserved areas. According to NSR’s VSAT and Broadband Markets, 17th Edition report, Wi-Fi hotspot annual service revenues will reach $7.5 billion by 2027, representing 43% of total satellite consumer broadband revenues."

"With HTS becoming the norm, satellite broadband offers can now meet UN Broadband Commission affordability targets of 1 GB of data for less than 2% of the monthly GNI per capita"

"Today, a satellite terminal that supports double-digit Mbps with 10s of concurrent sessions combined with a Wi-Fi smallcell is below the $1,000 USD threshold, which is within the reach of local businesses."

"Selecting the right locations to set up the Wi-Fi hotspot is not trivial. It needs a reliable local microentrepreneur with appropriate technical skills to maintain the equipment and run the network. The village must be big enough with adequate disposable income to generate demand but not too large that it will shortly be targeted by terrestrial alternatives. In the same line, the hotspot should be far enough from terrestrial alternatives to avoid being cannibalized by terrestrial solutions, but penetration of mobile devices is crucial to ensure customers can access the network."
NSR  satellite  rural  Wi-Fi  hotspots  broadband  HTS 
5 weeks ago by pierredv

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