We've announced the call for articles for On Site 27: rural urbanism.
Although I started thinking about this theme with the launch of OIL: a new town in a resource extraction region and the array of choices for new towns, we also had the example of reoccupation of agricultural villages in Italy, an article by Lauren Abrahams in On Site 23: small things. We had a photo-essay of Prince Albert Saskatchewan in On Site 19: streets. I had a recent report of Michael Taylor's observation of an urban flight to small towns in Denmark. And on the BBC last week a discussion of the English village as the holder of a vision of England that is both outdated and important. And last month in Sudbury, the Musagetes Café on the identity of small cities whose original reason for being has changed: the mine has closed, the smelter gone to China, the pulp mill defunct, the fishery closed – a variety of reasons that leaves small non-diversified towns at a loss.
And visiting Chelmsford, one of the small towns that encircle Sudbury where the four important sites, the CPR train tracks, the Algoma Tavern, the school and the church all sit together in a row: this is not a village with a central square or any of those models where the power base is singular and evident: this lines them up all together. We need a name for this, a way to speak about the realities of rural organisation.
So, have a look at the call for articles, have a think, and see if there is something you would like to say about rural urbanism, a much overlooked and scorned subject.