It’s not a secret that urban areas have received significantly more attention than rural areas for many years. With city life, access to better opportunities, and technology, young people continued to abandon the small towns they grew up in for the taste of the big city.
However, you’d agree with me that many rural communities have seen massive improvement thanks to technology in the last decade. New technologies have improved the quality of life in rural areas by allowing rural communities access to high-quality services, infrastructures, and the internet. Many people now abandon the city for nice, quiet villas in rural communities.
For clarity and help you create a mental picture of exactly what I mean when I say “rural community,” let's look at what qualifies as a rural community.
Generally speaking, rural communities are any geographic area located outside towns and cities. The characteristics of rural communities include but are not limited to;
Rural communities are smaller in population than urban areas; In such places, everyone knows everyone. Because the population is small, they usually have intimate relationships.
Agriculture is the main occupation; Agriculture is the fundamental occupation of the rural people and rural economy. Locals practice small-scale farming for the sole purpose of feeding themselves and their families. Some local farmers also sell excess produce in the farmer’s markets.
Surrounded by nature and natural resources; Rural areas have many undeveloped lands. The locals consider land a fundamental part of their lives, and they depend on it for their food, clothing, and shelter.
Lack of technological advancements; Rural communities have zero to no technology. They depend on their hands and nature for everything. Also, the low population in rural areas makes it extremely difficult to support investments in technology, industrial machines, and industries.
- No internet; Most people living in rural communities have no access to broadband. As a result of the small population and few potential consumers which are too dispersed, it is expensive for internet companies to set up shop in rural areas.
Like I mentioned before, as a result of technology, many rural communities have been able to rise beyond their shortcomings. This has created more and more opportunities for the locals to improve their quality of living. Here are some ways technology has improved rural areas;
High-quality broadband in rural communities; The lack of high-speed internet has prevented many rural communities from enjoying telemedicine and cloud computing technologies. However, with the government and private sector’s involvement in giving these rural communities broadband, these communities now enjoy technological opportunities. In the 21st century, it is right to say that the internet and information are currencies. The availability of high-speed internet in rural areas has attracted both tourist and international companies that contribute to their economy by providing jobs, paying taxes, training, and lots more.
Strengthened infrastructure includes roads, hospitals, telecommunications, and other basic amenities; A strong infrastructure is necessary to provide quality information and communication technology (ICT) services. As more connections (wireless and cable connections) are made, the efficiency and download speed of these connections depend on the capacity of fixed networks. Also, good quality roads are needed to transport these materials via trucks from the city to rural areas. Thus, the government’s investment in developing roads and road networks.
Labor force with future-ready skills; As technology makes its way to rural communities, we see a much higher demand for workers with skills that complement technology. To make this transition and enhance the capacity of the rural labor force, career pathways focused on digital skill acquisition rather than jobs are encouraged. The government, therefore, develops policies that encourage locals to develop skills that would enable them to thrive in these “technology-rich work environments.” Also, employers, labor unions, and educational institutions provide the rural workforce with training that would help them develop digital skills.
- Mechanized agriculture; When there are technological advancements in a place, we see an increase in its population. This means that there would be a higher demand for necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter. As a result, local farmers are forced to practice large-scale agriculture to meet the growing demand. Thereby encouraging the use of mechanized tools such as tractors and bulldozers. The availability of land in rural areas also encourages large-scale agriculture, the exportation of agricultural products, and an increase in the community’s economy.
The effect of technology in rural communities goes beyond what the eyes can see. Technology has provided life-changing opportunities to people who live in remote communities. Technological advancement in rural communities occurs differently and thus has different implications. Rural communities that are quick to embrace change are more likely to see rapid growth than communities that don’t.