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a postcard of Pennsylvania station in Richmond Indiana

It is strange for me to advocate for small towns based on the advantages we associate with larger cities. Walmart brought big box high-volume retail into rural areas and in the process decimated locally-owned specialty stores.

Now that the presence of brick and mortar itself is being challenged from e-tailers, it may mean that soon a solid internet connection is all one will need to get a college degree, buy a refrigerator, or even collect a paycheck.

Urban Distinctions, Rural Distinctions

So, as this all begins to manifest, is it possible that communities will again compete on the distinctive characteristics of urban and rural environments? Will the proximity of the natural world and quality of daily face-to-face contact elevate small towns to be attractive choices to raise families, enter young adulthood, or retire?

A critical variable here will not only be the basic needs of prospective residents but their commitment to a particular place, as well. Rather than a lifetime hometown, it may rather be a town with the home where I’m living. And I may just happen to be located in Richmond, Indiana.

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