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Land and Community Session 1 - Rural as Refuge?

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Anecdotal evidence from the United States and elsewhere suggests that urban residents moved to rural communities as a response to the COVID19 pandemic. Prior to this, much urban to rural migration was driven by individuals and households seeking out new residential locations in areas offering unique environmental qualities. This session reports on urban to rural migration trends at the national scale in recent years focusing on evidence of rural migration during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This macro scale perspective is followed by evidence from a set of Vermont case studies exploring migration’s impacts on rural communities and asking new residents what they make of their new rural homes. We conclude by discussing the ways in which in-migration can serve as a force of community improvement and reinvestment highlighting how rapid in-migration may influence landscapes, planning, civic engagement, and social life in small towns.



  • Dr. Cheryl Morse, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Vermont
  • Peter Nelson, Professor, Middlebury College
Production Date: 
Wednesday, September 22, 2021 - 11:30