Technologies Influence on Rural Kansas

Article Continued from Don’t Assume About Rural Page 1

by Jenny Russell, Jewell County Community Development Coordinator

September 2016 

Taking some of the “Urban Advantage” Away
ruralresponse-2Things have changed since I grew up in a rural area in the 1980’s.  Something that those of my counterparts who didn’t return to a rural area after college and haven’t lived here full-time since the 1980’s or 1990’s might not understand.  These things include:

  1. Transportation Efficiency – When I was little, we used to plan for a week to go to Salina on a two-lane highway at 55 miles an hour.  Now we go on the spur of the moment at an average of 70 miles per hour and we can be there in basically an hour.  About the same time it takes you to drive around Kansas City to different places. 
  2. Internet – The Internet has not only changed the way people live in metropolitan areas, don’t forget it also changed how we live in rural areas too.   
    1. Shopping-  One of the advantages to living in an urban area is the shopping.  You can get pretty much everything you want from ethnic food to specialty clothing items.  Now these items are also available in rural areas through one- to two-day shipping and our great local stores.  That just took some of the “urban advantage” away.
    2. Working- As I talked about in Don’t Assume About Rural, Internet is changing the way people work and where they can work from.  It’s no longer as necessary to be in an office building in an urban area.  In fact, earlier this year, I saw on the news that Cargill was considering a new place for it’s headquarters, abandoning and possibly moving out of downtown Wichita.  Why?  “The age of what your mom and dad worked in as an office is different than the new type of work environment,” Rigby said.
  3. Entertainment– I could almost include this topic in with the Internet topic above.  Living in a rural area no longer needs to mean lack of entertainment.  Movies and television shows are now just a short click away on Amazon Prime, Youtube, or from some of our great rural telecommunications/television providers.  Gaming systems can be in every living room.  Many of our movie theaters have now been renovated and outfitted with the latest in digital projection.  Renovation happened often times after thirty years of neglect following the “agricultural revolution”.  No longer do you have to go to a movie with water dripping on your head and mice running across your feet while watching a movie that came out two years ago and just got to rural.  Another loss for the “urban advantage”.

Helpful Policies for Rural Progress  – Read More in Part 3 of this article

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