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Some of what makes a city great, like restaurants, parks, shows, museums, concerts, history, people, attractions, etc. etc. etc. are there because of population density, where over decades or centuries families have flocked there for financial reasons (it's almost ALWAYS financial reasons when you get right down to it). The infrastructure and amenities follow the growth in population: It's never the other way around unless you live in North Korea.

If you could live anywhere and not have to mess with commuting daily, you probably would... But then your chosen location would try to keep you and your loved ones happy by increasing those very amenities you enjoyed in a higher density city. The big city in turn would suffer from lower income (you're not there to spend your money) and many restaurants, entertainment venues, attractions, et al would have to follow the money and move where a greater population cluster now resides. Making the city less desirable to others as these places move away to greener pastures.

Leases and rents would drop, companies would need fewer services and amenities, transportation and delivery services would downsize, vehicle types would change, leading to fewer jobs and reduced income, and temporary changes would become permanent. So WFH is bound to have many positive, as well as detrimental, effects, which we're only beginning to understand now.

If I could live anywhere and maintain my present standard of living, I (and thousands of others) would eventually move, but such moves will ripple through the fabric of society in short order, affecting many touch points along the way. I'm not saying WFH is a bad thing, not at all... But like any societal change, it will have many predictable, as well as unforeseen, consequences...
 

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it will have many predictable, as well as unforeseen, consequences...
We don't want the urban areas to suffer from people leaving, but that wasn't a concern as everyone abandoned rural areas to get jobs in the city.
The whole idea that the only way to survive financially is to pack yourself into one of maybe a dozen metro areas in the country is ridiculous.
There's a healthy middle ground where people should be able to live in a region they enjoy, and still be able to make a living. If WFH this leads to rural areas getting some of their health back, then I'm glad for it.
 

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We don't want the urban areas to suffer from people leaving, but that wasn't a concern as everyone abandoned rural areas to get jobs in the city.
The whole idea that the only way to survive financially is to pack yourself into one of maybe a dozen metro areas in the country is ridiculous.
There's a healthy middle ground where people should be able to live in a region they enjoy, and still be able to make a living. If WFH this leads to rural areas getting some of their health back, then I'm glad for it.
Counterpoint: I don't see a lot of rural communities doing a lot to pull people back to these areas. If I leave a rural community for a 6 figure job and more things to do in a metro area, what, exactly, do you propose we do to counteract that?

I don't disagree with your premise, but I do think rural America has been sitting on their @$$ complaining for FAR too long. Start thinking about what it will take to attract people back to rural towns aside from some whitewashed romantic rose-tinted vision from the 1940s about it being "a great place to live". Telling me rural America is what the American dream is built on, and then offering me schools rated 3 or 4 ain't really going to pull me back to the area.

Side note: I actually DID leave a rural area to move to Chicago once upon a time, so this is based on personal experience.
 

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It's a fair point, but one that WFH addresses directly. You can now live in a less dense region you enjoy and have a job.
 

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The whole idea that the only way to survive financially is to pack yourself into one of maybe a dozen metro areas in the country is ridiculous.
as a counterpoint, what’s the point of living in a rural country unless you have family there?
Services are limited
Job opportunities are limited
Can’t start a biz because services are limited
Healthcare is limited
Internet access and speed is an issue

Because of that, why move to an rural area? WFH is out without reliable internet, and trades are out due to lack of work.
Most people there are there due to financial circumstances or have family farmland

It's a fair point, but one that WFH addresses directly. You can now live in a less dense region you enjoy and have a job.
Not necessarily. See above points.
 

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It's a fair point, but one that WFH addresses directly. You can now live in a less dense region you enjoy and have a job.
Fine. Start supporting that - both from a corporate level, and from a civic level. Right now, speaking as a high-tech laptop warrior, COVID is the first opportunity I have seen where I now have flexibility to move and live where I want. And that's limited by the way - I still (personally) have a requirement that makes me live within 90 minutes of a major airport hub. Point being - this is a good start, but we aren't there yet and more work needs to occur.

There's a second point to that. Support the infrastructure needed to enable those movements. "Infrastructure" is a loaded word with political implications right now, but frankly those political implications should have been dealt with over a decade ago.

One last point: I made that "rural America is sitting on their @##" comment for a reason. I think there's a large number of people out there who could actually raise rural America out of the doldrums, but choose not to - either by accepting low wage work as their only path, not chasing higher education, nor vocational training. In other words, no ambition or drive.

Let me be clear: Historically, and to a smaller extent still to this day, you do not chose to live in a rural area if you have high career or earning ambitions. That is backed up by statistics. There are people that buck that trend, but I argue that those people would be successful in ANY environment they chose to live in. I attribute my career success, partially, to the fact that I live in a Tier 1 metropolitan area.

If rural America wants to change that narrative, it's time to stop calling cities "sh!tholes", get off the La-Z-Boy and do something about it. Sympathy won't bring economic success back to a depressed area.
 

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Sure, but there's zero reason for most of the eastern seaboard not to have high speed rail. It is more or less continuously populated from Portland to Miami.

Edit: Even still, you don't necessarily need that kind of density for high speed rail to make sense. Look at a country like Spain. By European standards it doesn't have high population density. Taking the train between Madrid and Barcelona you don't see a whole lot - just empty countryside and farms. High speed rail cuts that trip down to three hours from the 6.5 it would take to drive. Cost is comparable to flying but without the need of leaving the city centre to get to the airport, dealing with security, etc. It's just a much more pleasant experience all around.
The scenario you describe has high-speed rail as the obvious answer. Our Eastern Seaboard is a much different scenario, though. In Spain (as you describe it) you're dealing with two high-density cities and little in-between. That makes high-speed rail super practical. If you have lots of cities (and therefore stops) and high-density populations needing to cross those tracks the answers will be less obvious.

Does that mean high-speed rail wouldn't work? No, but it may mean that in some places the train would be limited to 50mph (as an example) and only be high-speed (120 mph?) as the population density lessens somewhat in the south. This is just spitballing, the practical answers may be very different.

One thing is for certain, though. What works in extremely populated Europe will not work wholesale in the U.S., even if there are parts of the U.S. where it would be practical. 🍺
 

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as a counterpoint, what’s the point of living in a rural country unless you have family there?
Services are limited
Job opportunities are limited
Can’t start a biz because services are limited
Healthcare is limited
Internet access and speed is an issue

Because of that, why move to an rural area? WFH is out without reliable internet, and trades are out due to lack of work.
Most people there are there due to financial circumstances or have family farmland
All valid points except the last one about internet access and speed, at least nearly. Starlink is the gamechanger for that. It's extremely low latency and 100mbit is plenty for nearly everyone as long as you don't have the the whole household playing 4K videos while you're working. I even got by with a 5mbit connection when I was sole user and basically only using it for work for a month when I moved into a rental a few years ago, and 20/40/80 are all basically more than plenty for WFH with higher speeds making it easier to have the whole family using the connection too. Starlink starting at 100mbit and potentially going up over time means you can be anywhere at all and have very fast internet.

All that other stuff though - well that's exactly why I've stayed inside the freeway loop of my metro area even though I've been WFH for years now. It's also just as well as it looks like my company is going to start sending all the formerly WFH employees back into the office later this year and into next year anyway. But yeah: access to premier healthcare, big box home stores, good mechanics, a major airport or two, and basically everything that makes even living in the exurbs of a major metro are easier than living in the truly rural areas is a big deal. I'd rather move to the exurbs and be 1-1.5 hours from the airport but within 15 minutes of a major hospital and medical plaza than actually live off in the middle of nowhere.
 

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as a counterpoint, what’s the point of living in a rural country unless you have family there?
Even for some of its advantages, not everyone wants to live in the city. It's really that easy. I don't care if you don't understand or even like that fact.
Not everyone wants exactly what you want, or wants to live exactly how you want them to live.
I like less people, less noise, less traffic, more trees, more nature, more stars, and I'd be willing to give up some urban conveniences for it. Fortunately, not everywhere that ticks off 'less dense' fits your hyperbole laced beliefs.
 

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All valid points except the last one about internet access and speed, at least nearly. Starlink is the gamechanger for that. It's extremely low latency and 100mbit is plenty for nearly everyone as long as you don't have the the whole household playing 4K videos while you're working. I even got by with a 5mbit connection when I was sole user and basically only using it for work for a month when I moved into a rental a few years ago, and 20/40/80 are all basically more than plenty for WFH with higher speeds making it easier to have the whole family using the connection too. Starlink starting at 100mbit and potentially going up over time means you can be anywhere at all and have very fast internet.
Yeah, my parents had Hugesnet before leaving. Latency is horrible and it was hideously expensive. Add that to a 1+ hour drive just to see a doctor or specialist, and yeah.
 

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as a counterpoint, what’s the point of living in a rural country unless you have family there?
I like less people, less noise, less traffic, more trees, more nature, more stars, and I'd be willing to give up some urban conveniences for it.
Surf captured my thoughts best. I like my 27 mile commute to work through winding, enthusiast-friendly roads, and having no neighbors. The best is the lack of light and sound pollution. It is magical once experienced in all of it's dial-up glory.
 

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I'd rather move to the exurbs and be 1-1.5 hours from the airport but within 15 minutes of a major hospital and medical plaza than actually live off in the middle of nowhere.
That's us. We live in an outer suburb, have all the benefits of city metro living but none of the overcrowding. We also have excellent restaurants (whenever we can go back there, that is) health care, services, parks, and I am 45 minutes to O'Hare.

At this point I do not see us leaving the Chicago metro area for anything. We have family here, a ton of perks and benefits, and not much reason to move rural. I have parents in rural areas of Syracuse NY and out near Dubuque IA, and moving to either of those locations will mean a MAJOR downgrade in QOL.
 

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Surf captured my thoughts best. I like my 27 mile commute to work through winding, enthusiast-friendly roads, and having no neighbors. The best is the lack of light and sound pollution. It is magical once experienced in all of it's dial-up glory.
Yeah, it's magical to experience, but when reality hits and you need health care, shopping, work trips, and even support from your employer....it doesn't work.
 

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Just Milking my Carrot in the Honda break room.
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Yeah, it's magical to experience, but when reality hits and you need health care, shopping, work trips, and even support from your employer....it doesn't work.
It takes me 35 minutes to get to work. I live 10 miles north of where most of Atlanta's sports, music, and wealthy live. There are two major medical facilities within 15 miles, and I do most of my shopping while I'm near work.

The comps around me are in the single-digit millions. People move out where I did to get away from the hassle that is Atlanta and it's associated burdens. Not to mention, I'm stuck between those two lakes we've been talking about.
 

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Surf captured my thoughts best. I like my 27 mile commute to work through winding, enthusiast-friendly roads, and having no neighbors. The best is the lack of light and sound pollution. It is magical once experienced in all of it's dial-up glory.
damn that sounds nice. Wonder if i would give up fios gigabit for that.
 

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Greetings from Needle Park! Once you clear the homeless off the bench, spray bleach on their piss, and use metal mesh gloves to move their used needle piles, it’s a little less of a **** hole. Except for the guy with a megaphone trying to convert me to Satanism.



I did live in rural AZ for four years. I could retire to a rural community assuming the healthcare was ok. I get the appeal.
 
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