Revival of village life with 21st-century adaptations
THE 21st-century village is not the quaint place of yesterday.Villages of the future will have to adapt to cater to a growing demand for flexible living/work space and upgraded infrastructure, according to the findings of Strutt & Parker’s ‘Housing Futures’ survey, which points to a new trend for people seeking amenity-rich environments within a village setting.
A cursory glance at existing research would suggest cities have the upper hand over villages. By 2050, the UN predicts that 66% of the world’s population will be urban, with the UK inevitably being part of the trend. By the mid-century, there will be approximately 65 million people living in Britain’s cities, compared to just eight million in rural areas.
Urbanisation has generally been viewed as a positive economic and social driver that leads to longer life expectancies, a reduction in poverty, increased literacy and higher education levels, as well as enhanced cultural opportunities.
But as the urban trend has gathered pace, a number of negative traits have begun to appear.When urbanisation is too rapid, or when it is undertaken without proper planning, cities can become more unequal than rural areas, resulting in a rise in substandard living conditions, urban sprawl and increased pollution.
Urbanisation can also lead to unsustainable production and consumption patterns.Add in concerns about the affordability of housing and limited development, and perhaps it is not so surprising that over the past three years of Housing Futures research we have seen the emergence of a new creeping trend – the desire to move back to rural.
In Strutt & Parker’s latest research, 21% of respondents who are moving want to live in a village, making it easily the most popular location.The shift away from cities is being driven by people looking for neighbourhood safety (86%) and space between neighbours (58%), as well as for a strong community feel (48%).
According to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in 2013/14, the UK saw net
This brick and flint period cottage has a courtyard garden to the front and an outside decked area for dining to the rear. Located in Deanway in Chalfont St Giles.Asking price £435,000. Call 01494 871991. internal migration of 60,000 people to predominantly rural areas in England. It is a trend that has been positive every year since 2001. But this reverse migration is not to a traditional rural environment.
The influence that technology is having on shopping, communications and, most importantly, working habits is helping to transform villages and the type of people who want to live in them.
Technology is also helping to change the rural economy, which plays a key role in creating jobs and prosperity. England’s rural economy now accounts for £210 billion of economic output and hosts more than 25% of all registered businesses.
Once the preserve of agricultural enterprises, new companies are thriving in rural locations, including hi-tech manufacturing, food processing, the service sector, retail and power supply (in the form of renewables). What’s more, the expansion of broadband and mobile communications has seen a greater uptake of working from home in rural locations compared to urban areas. It seems the same factors that once drove urbanisation – improving economic and social conditions – are now inspiring the village revival.
For more information about village properties for sale, contact Roberts Newby, now part of Strutt & Parker at 83 Packhorse Road, Gerrards Cross, SL9 8PJ; 01753 891188 or visit www. struttandparker.com.