The rise of the rural creative class

Wider Image: Iowa - America's Heartland

Richard Florida:  One of the most persistent myths in America today is that urban areas are innovative and rural areas are not. While it is overwhelmingly clear that innovation and creativity tend to cluster in a small number of cities and metropolitan areas, it’s a big mistake to think that they somehow skip over rural America.

A series of studies from Tim Wojan and his colleagues at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service documents the drivers of rural innovation. Their findings draw on a variety of data sets, including a large-scale survey that compares innovation in urban and rural areas called the Rural Establishment Innovation Survey (REIS). This is based on some 11,000 business establishments with at least five paid employees in tradable industries—that is, sectors that produce goods and services that are or could be traded internationally—in rural (or non-metro) and urban (metro) areas.

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Rural Chinese families pose with every possession they own

Jiadang (Family Stuff)

Jiadang (Family Stuff) is a project by Chinese photographer Huang Qingjun that shows Chinese families posing next to all of their worldly possessions. He spent almost ten years traveling around to various rural communities in China, asking families to take everything they owned and carefully arrange them outdoors for a picture. (Photos)

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China Expands It’s Pension Program to Cover 60% of Rural Areas

china rural area

China launched a pilot pension program as part of efforts to narrow the standard-of-living gap between rural and urban residents.

China plans to expand a piloted pension program to 60 percent of its rural areas this year, an increase from the original target of 40 percent, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang said Friday.


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China’s Rural Population Could Drop from 900M to 400M Within 30 Years

elderly man in china

An elderly man from the countryside walks in a street in the Sichuan province, with his granddaughter on his back

China’s rural population may drop to 400 million from the current 900 million in the next three decades because of rising urbanization, a senior official has forecast.  The rural population currently stands at 720 million, the latest population figures have shown. But the number does not include the 180 million rural residents who have left their hometowns to live in cities for more than half a year, Han Jun, a senior official at the State Council Development Research Center, was quoted as saying by Beijing News.


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40% of Americans Do Not Have High-Speed Internet Access


Broadband is not widely available in rural areas

Roughly 40% of Americans do not have high-speed Internet access at home, according to new Commerce Department figures that underscore the challenges facing policymakers who are trying to bring affordable broadband connections to everyone. The Obama administration and Congress have identified universal broadband as a key to driving economic development, producing jobs and bringing educational opportunities and cutting-edge medicine to all corners of the country.


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Wealth Gap In China Poses Threat To Social Stability


China has been unable to keep in check the gap between rich and poor.

China’s widening wealth and income gap is posing a serious threat to its social stability, senior Chinese sociologists warned.  “There has been an increasing number of mass disturbances occurring in recent years related to the yawning gap between the rich and the poor,” Yan Ye, the vice-professor of the North China Institute of Science and Technology, told China Daily on Friday in Beijing.


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‘No Toilet, No Bride’ Campaign – New Seat Of Power For Women In India


“Show your loo before you woo”

An ideal groom in this dusty farming village is a vegetarian, does not drink, has good prospects for a stable job and promises his bride-to-be an amenity in high demand: a toilet.  In rural India, many young women are refusing to marry unless the suitor furnishes their future home with a bathroom, freeing them from the inconvenience and embarrassment of using community toilets or squatting in fields.


Finding Green In The City


Chongqing in China is growing fast – so is the pollution

Apart from a few lower members of the animal kingdom, no-one other than human beings build cities.  They are totally artificial constructs and in them we live artificial lives. We travel differently, eat different food, receive water and energy through pipes and wires, live in different kinds of buildings, do different jobs.


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