Gentrification of Rural America

I’m kind of wondering what the definition is of “driving an extended distance”. I am no expert on rural areas, but I’ve been places on the East Coast where there is a walkable Main Street/downtown area (which might be what you mean by “village” ) and/or a major intersection with a shopping center and some stores across the road. Of course, the people who live close to those places don’t have to drive an extended distance to buy milk or toilet paper and some of them can probably walk to those places - but often those places are surrounded by areas where people would have to drive at least 5-10 miles to get to anything other than maybe a convenience store. I wouldn’t consider 5-10 miles an extended drive , but I also wouldn’t consider it walking or bicycle distance.

I guess it depends on definitions. I pulled up my local county’s history to see how some of the rural towns near me grew. Most of then had a city center with a general store and a post office but Conifer, CO only had a trading post until the combination general store and gas station was built in 1930. This was for a “town” founded in 1860. That today has a population of almost 20k and a grocery store.

Confier isn’t a town though it’s a census designated place. It has no political structure aside from the county and I would classify it as a rural town. Yes there is absolutely gentrification happening here, well of people, such as myself, are pushed out of the more expensive parts of Denver (Golden for us) and then move to a less expensive place we can afford. We’ve seen real estate almost double in the 3 years we’ve been here and it’s no longer a cheap haven outside of the city. I know many locals that have been pushed out farther and now commute into my town. Further out in the mountains towns like Pine have seen growth from the people pushed out of Conifer. Now we’re seeing bars and restaurants in towns that used to just have a gas station.

Yes, of course. It’s only the people who live in the village itself who can readily walk to things; not the ones in the surrounding area. (Though the Old Order, and some other people, can cover quite a distance by bicycle.)

I didn’t mean that everyone can walk to things – but there are a significant number of people who can, and if they have to move far out of town to afford to live there, then they can’t.

In what way, exactly? Politically, maybe. Otherwise, not so much. Texas has a robust and high tech manufacturing sector, a vibrant technology sector, and a lot of other stuff.

Also chock-full of illegal housing - some of which proved lethal during Ida’s floods - people crammed into housing in illegal/unsafe numbers, and undocumented immigrants who are easily exploited because they’re afraid to complain. Not to mention a generous helping of homeless people.

But hey, the wealthy get what they want so why should they care about people dying in basement/sub-level living situations which are the only thing they can afford when flooding occurs, or living on starvation wages that means they will never get ahead, and all the other ills of poverty.

That doesn’t make sense and doesn’t jibe with historical observations. Look at cities with buildings built before the invention of the elevator (1850s). Rich people lived in townhouses and mansions while poor people lived in tenement buildings and walkups. And they tended to not live in the same neighborhoods. Wealthy people always had the option of choosing the best neighborhoods and pricing out poorer people.

If anything, the automobile and building cities around the automobile has led to wealth disparity and “gentrification of rural areas”. The automobile and the freeways they drive on has allowed the creation of vast suburbs where more affluent commuters could move outside the urban areas. This led to the so-called “white flight” of the middle class that started in the 50s.

Anyhow, it’s a complex phenomenon that you can’t just point to one invention 150 years ago as the cause.

I didn’t mean to; only that I thought that in the densest areas of cities it might be a contributing factor.

It may be, but not for the reasons you described. I don’t envision the Vanderbilts and Carnegies ever lived in the same building or even the same neighborhood as the people who maintained their home (aside from those who lived on site in servant quarters).

But, what the elevator has allowed is the creation of the skyscraper, enabling thousands of relatively highly paid employees and their managers and executives to work in a relatively small area. But, taken in conjunction with the expressway and the automobile, has led to the phenomenon of people traveling miles from suburban homes to converge on the city center for work.

Of course, untethered from having to go to the office, many of those highly paid office workers are finding second homes out in the country. And once you get enough of them out there, they often tend to want a lot of the same amenities they had in the city - corporate coffee chains and upscale restauarnts and whatnot.

Of course before the expressway and the automobile, railroads like the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (part of which became the New Haven line of Metro-North) allowed suburbanites to travel to city center for work.

I wasn’t thinking of the super-rich, but of the moderately so; rich compared to the people in the fifth-floor walkups, though not compared to the Vanderbilts.

You might be right, though; as I said, I haven’t researched it.

True; but the skyscraper also allows thousands of people to live in a relatively small area, if it’s filled with apartments instead of offices. (Potentially they could be filled with a mix; but I don’t think they often are, though I might be wrong about that too.)

If the people working in the skyscrapers don’t want to live in skyscrapers, and/or if the city planners think residential and business uses should be kept far apart, and/or if the people building the skyscrapers can make more money on office buildings than on apartment buildings, then there will be a discrepancy. As you say, the availability of cars (and the tendency to design both cities and suburbs around and for cars) also contributes.

And, as you and others have said, if the people working in the cities don’t want to or can’t afford to live in them, that puts pressure on rural areas: including pressure to provide city amenities.