The Great Divide – building bridges between cities and their rural hinterlands

Don’t get me wrong, there are rural investments and there are rural initiatives, but they tend to be sectoral – you can run a project for older people or younger people or business people or just about any other ‘people’ you care to mention. But it’s a hard sell to persuade those holding the purse strings that rural areas deserve an integrated, holistic approach, an approach based on geographies rather than targeted bits of the population. This piecemeal approach to rural development gradually undermines the sustainability of rural geographies and chips away at our understanding of geographical identity and belonging. As a result of this, power and money and skills and resources have haemorrhaged away from rural communities over the decades, to be only partly replaced by the energies and aesthetic of a legion of culturally creative incomers.