Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Amenity Migrants And The Rebirth Of The North American Small Town

from TreeHugger.com
by Lloyd Alter, Toronto

Randal Macnair, the former mayor of Fernie, British Columbia, used the term "Amenity Migrant" to describe the people moving to the former depressed coal town in the Canadian Rockies. It is a term that, according to Ray Chipeniuk, started with American demographers in the late 1970s and early 80s, an era marked by a back-to-the-land movement in both the US and Canada. He is quoted in Northword:

"It appeared something really quite extraordinary was going on. People were moving in large numbers to parts of the US where every indication was that there should be low employment, largely due to collapses in natural resource industries."

But the Internet and the rise of the independent homeworker has made it even more extraordinary. Fernie demonstrates what happens when you mix mountains, historic buildings and streetscapes, the Internet and the Creative Class: Boom.

Part of Fernie's success is the fact that it has maintained so much of its historic streetscapes and buildings, like this courthouse that the provincial government abandoned and that the municipality restored. (and then leased back to the government.) The main street is picture postcard pretty, full of shops and businesses servicing the tourists and the knowledge workers who have moved into town...read more story and watch video at TreeHugger.com

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