Friday, October 26, 2007

The Outer Limits

I recently wrote a post about Daigo Township's attempts to attract new residents and the deepening genkai shūraku phenomenon.

An Asahi Shimbun editorial provides a follow up.

1 comment:

Janne Morén said...

Communities disappearing is distressing to watch, and even more so if you're connected to the area in some way.

But the reality is that the population numbers are flat and likely to shrink the next decade, while heavily urban areas (in Japan as elsewhere; that is a global phenomenon) continue to grow.

Bluntly, a lot of communities will die, and there is no realistic way around it. Yes, you can try to entice people to move in, but people ready to move in are overwhelmingly already living in a rural or semi-rural area elsewhere, or were already ready to move out into the countryside anyway. The effort thus mostly shifts people around, making other areas disappear all the faster.

For all the justified criticisms of the urban landscape, it is built by humans for humans, and offers both necessities, opportunities and conveniences in abundance. It is optimized for life in a way that a rural area never can be, and people recognize this. So major population centers will continue to attract people to a greater degree than rural areas, and the rural population will continue to shrink.