Steve Thairu Mbaki

Neo-Ruralism : The Change from City to Country

Hope for a healthy future

Neo-ruralism is a socio-cultural movement that has gained momentum in recent years, reflecting a shift in the way people perceive and interact with rural areas. This movement encourages individuals to reconnect with rural environments, often driven by a desire for a simpler and more sustainable way of life. Neo-ruralism stands in contrast to the urbanisation trend that has dominated the last century. 

Neo-rurals are a new generation of people who are moving from big cities to rural areas. They are often drawn to the simpler way of life which often comes with a closer connection to nature and lower cost of living that rural areas offer. Neo-rurals may also be motivated by a desire to be more self-sufficient in their produce and way of living or to contribute to the revitalisation of rural communities. They are mostly tired of the hustle and bustle of city life and are looking for a more relaxed and meaningful way to live.

Neo-rurals come from a variety of backgrounds and have different reasons for choosing to move to rural areas. Some are looking for a change of pace and a more relaxed lifestyle. Others are interested in starting their own businesses or farms. Still, others are drawn to the natural beauty of rural areas and the opportunity to live a more sustainable lifestyle. The influx of neo-ruralists often brings a diversity of ideas, skills, and perspectives to rural communities. This can lead to cultural exchange and enrichment, fostering creativity and innovation.

The surge in neo-rurals cannot be ignored as it is having a significant impact on rural communities. Neo-rurals are bringing new ideas, skills and resources to rural areas. No matter what their motivations, neo-rurals are also  bringing different perspectives to rural communities. They are helping to revitalise local economies and create new jobs. Neo-rurals are sustaining the rural areas population and are also helping to preserve rural culture and traditions. They often engage in small-scale agriculture, renewable energy production, and environmentally friendly living arrangements, contributing to a lower ecological footprint.

During the peak of the pandemic, many remote workers were choosing to live in rural areas because of the lower cost of living and better quality of life. People who are interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle and retirees too are moving to rural areas to be closer to nature and family. Rural environments often offer cleaner air, closer connections to nature, and a sense of tranquillity that can be difficult to find in urban areas. This can lead to reduced stress levels and improved overall well-being. The neo-rural movement is still relatively new, but it is growing rapidly. As more and more people choose to move to rural areas, we can expect to see a significant impact on the way that rural communities are planned, developed, and governed.

The rising cost of living in cities, the housing market that is always on the rise, the disparity in pay, the cost of housing, food, and other essential expenses has been rising steadily in many cities around the world. This has made it difficult for many people to afford to live in urban areas. Neo-rurals have shown us possibilities of affordable housing and a lower cost of living in rural areas. 

The pandemic era also shaped how people worked by increasing the availability of remote work. This has then made it possible for more people to live and work from anywhere in the world. This has given people the flexibility to move to rural areas without having to sacrifice their careers. The result is a more sustainable lifestyle. A more sustainable way is how many neo-rurals are interested in living. The neo-rurals have shown an interest a healthy work-life balance. They have branched into activities such as growing their own food, focusing on renewable energy and reducing their environmental impact. Rural areas often offer more opportunities for sustainable living than cities.

Many neorurals desire to be part of a community that more often can be found in rural areas. They may be looking for a place where they can get to know their neighbours and participate in community events. This is a rare find in the hustle and bustle of city life. Some people have decided to move to rural areas in search of a safer and healthier place to live. Overall, the surge in neo-rurals is a positive development for both rural and urban areas. It is a sign that people are increasingly interested in living simpler, more sustainable, and more connected lives.

Neo-ruralism represents a growing movement that seeks to redefine the relationship between individuals, communities, and rural environments. Its impacts are multifaceted, ranging from improved quality of life for individuals to the revitalisation of rural communities and potential benefits for society and the environment. As the world continues to grapple with urbanisation and its associated challenges, neo-ruralism offers an alternative path that promotes sustainability, self-sufficiency, and a deeper connection to the natural world. While not without its challenges and complexities, neo-ruralism holds the potential to reshape our societies in ways that prioritise well-being, environmental stewardship, and a more balanced way of life.

Overall, whether or not neo-ruralism is a good thing depends on the specific context. It is important to keep in mind that neo-ruralism is a complex phenomenon. Though I mention the positive impact that comes with the neo-ruralism, it is important to carefully consider the specific context of each community.