That’s why I had hoped that there would be a huge change now post -covid. I was working remotely a few days a week once financial crisis hit in 2008 and central London office space became £££ - But never totally embedded. Sadly it seems that with most professions people still want to go to big cities quite regularly so still not a widespread option for many people.
working from home is viable for such a small part of the workforce that its never going to change anything in arural setting.
I’ve seem some successful shared hubs and co-workimg spaces for a variety of occupations. Locally there is a perpinière which is in its 5th year. So still some optimism.
Many people who aren’t artisans could telecommute, but the employer needs to be able to think positively about its advantages in terms of increased employee commitment and mutual time and cost saving.
I had the advantage of working for the Open University, who’d been doing that sort of thing for half a century albeit originally by snail mail and down time TV programmes before the advent of video recorders. In the early noughties I just taught one module for CE students (also had a f/t F2F lectureship) and handwritten OU essays would come in every month (those from southern Italy always arrived late, but unofficially one made allowances). Then, in 2007 it all went onlineI could post videos of lectures that students, most of whom had full time jobs, could download and respond to in their own time via blogs. Also all essays were now typed, beautifully footnoted and everything worked so much better. Twice a year we’d meet up for Day Schools usually in Frankfurt and Paris, and it was one of the most stimulating and satisfying parts of a forty odd year career. Would still be doing it if the OU didn’t require one to be a UK tax resident.
The question then becomes about whether you would prefer them to really de-populate and crumble away? Maybe there will come a time when the houses we’ve loved and kept alive will become the homes of working families again, but for now we’ll buy our bread in the local boulanger, hire local craftsmen and as much as possible attend local festivals and remembrances. I can’t become French, but perhaps I can help them retain their legacy.
But its for a very small number of people.
Some stat that seems to stick in my head is 20% can work from home, sounds great doesn’t it , until you spin it around then it says 80% can’t.
I think whereas in Britain, the C18th Agricultural Revolution, subsequent Industrial Revolution and the contemporaneous Enclosure Acts, drove people off the land into the newly industrialised cities and the new overseas colonies, the French kept their connectivity for another century or more, and never needed, or were unable to sell the ancestral home, (which of course many still return to in the summer).
Well then, that’s several million! Doesn’t seem a ‘very small number’ to me.
Imagine the difference to declining rural communities if all these young(ish) professionals could telecommute.
While I wouldn’t have worded it like that at the time, our first proper holiday in France - a week at Bidart, then a second at Saumur - really made plain to me how much more the Frenchman was connected to his soil than the Englishman.
All this talk of the village makes me really wish we were back there right now. Despite the trip to Lanzarote, I’ve been missing Cussy.
The quality of life is just so much better here
In a previous life I was exploring that question concerning isolated rural villages in the UK. If it wasn’t for the heritage aspect (in its widest sense ) it would be far more sensible to abandon a lot of villages and let nature have the space. Cost of maintaining infrastructure, providing services, giving agricultural grants to maintain very marginal businesses and ensuring equality is just too high.
Politically unacceptable though.
(And before you shout at me for being heartless I did also bust a gut to save a special flock of rough fell sheep in Cumbria from being slaughtered during the foot and mouth crisis)
Interesting perspective, but I’ve also done a lot of research and published on re-wilding both in the UK and S Africa and in neither case is it very straight forward, but particularly in the UK. For instance even in the Scottish Highlands it’s difficult to re-introduce the wolf - they simply need too much territory. Lynx and beaver are possible, but not apex predators, without which rewilding can only work in a very limited way. Very sad.
This is the ‘Last Wolf’ memorial, what the photo doesn’t show is that it’s a tiny stone next to a rubbish bin in a crappy litter strewn lay-by on the A9 in Sutherland. A really depressing sight.
I stopped there last year and it had been cleaned up, the locals complained to the lorry drivers as it is mainly them that use the layby and it was mostly clear now and the grass around the monument was kept cut.
Talking of wolves !
There’s a huge difference between clearing scattered uneconomic villages and returning them to more natural state and rewilding! On a total thread drift we have a lot of lynx here, about 150 in the department. But was reading the other day that the genetic diversity is too low for long term survival, so unless can bring in some more from eg the carpathians they will die out. And of course massive opposition to this. Shame as such stunning beasts.
The last wolf killed in England was on Humphrey Head in Cumbria.
So I visited the village website this morning, to be greeted by a notice denouncing the closure of maternity facilities in the Morvan and announcing strikes by the maires, closing mairies across the Morvan.
If I’ve understood this properly, there’s a health care crisis going on locally.
And nationally! Each area has health services under pressure. With us it’s a whole hospital in one of the larget towns that has lost population. For you seems a lack of babies!
Good job you’re not pregnant!