Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Columnist: Rural America must merge technology with culture to ensure a better future

Merging the blessings of technology with small-town culture is key to the revitalization of rural America, one commentator writes. "To put it bluntly: culture eats technology on any day of the week," Sylvia Lovelyformer executive director of the Kentucky League of Cities, writes for NewGeography. Lovely outlines a variety of examples where culture has trumped investment in technology, but outlines five elements to finding the proper blend between combining "the technology that will lift up economic prosperity and build wealth and while understanding better the role of local culture in creating the resilient rural communities of the future."

Lovely terms her recommendations the five Ps: perspective, people, place, preservation and prosperity. Rural America needs "perspective and hard-nosed research to know where you stand: who is coming to or staying in your community or region," Lovely writes. It also needs "investment in people and their education, health and other documented needs, recognition and promotion of placepreservation of what is dear in our culture, and finally putting all that together with technology that can bring economic prosperity not only in dollars but in quality of life."

"We certainly need to take what technology offers, with its gift of allowing us to live and work anywhere. But this is a hollow benefit unless we imbue it with the culture that makes our lives special," Lovely concludes. "It won't be computers that will make our rural places unique. It will be the native music, crafts and stories and how we preserve and adapt them to modern times." (Read more)

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