Editor: Angela T. Ragusa

Rural Lifestyles, Community Well-Being and Social Change: Lessons from Country Australia for Global Citizens

eBook: US $59 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $211
Printed Copy: US $182
Library License: US $236
ISBN: 978-1-60805-803-7 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-802-0 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2014
DOI: 10.2174/97816080580201140101

Introduction

In our increasingly global world, individuals are highly mobile and interconnected. Politics, policies and technologies foster interconnection amongst and within countries as individuals relocate from one place to another. One key issue facing developed and developing countries is urban overcrowding. In Australia, urban density is one factor prompting institutions and individuals to embrace ‘rural revival’ as a possible solution to urban congestion and rural decline. In the past decade, rural Australia has received heightened publicity and interest as a lifestyle destination encouraged by national decentralization policies to alleviate urban overcrowding, particularly the metropolises Melbourne and Sydney, regional councils’ marketing initiatives and international refugee relocation.

Rural communities struggle in contrast with urban counterparts for several, often complex, reasons. The ‘realities’ of rural life are frequently marginalized while marketing campaigns evoke stereotypical imagery of idyllic lifestyles and bucolic pastures to sell dreams of country bliss to fatigued urbanites.

This edited e-book is a collection of articles that explores ‘rural realities’ of country life in Australia for global audiences interested in rurality, health and well-being. By transcending disciplinary-specific boundaries, this multi-disciplinary book not only presents contemporary challenges, but also equips readers with evidence-based knowledge to improve resilience in communities and individuals facing key issues such as aging, depression, disability, environmental degradation, limited service delivery and social isolation. Utilizing a variety of social science research methods, each chapter will enhance readers’ insights about rural amenities, geography, identity, culture, health and governance which impact wellbeing and lifestyle satisfaction. Collectively, this book exposes readers to ideas from a dynamic range of experts in the humanities, social and natural sciences to encourage a holistic approach to developing solutions for a complex social world.

The content of this volume will interest a wide audience of graduates and undergraduates, researchers, professional practitioners and policymakers involved with non-profit and government organizations, and interested community members.

Foreword

I am delighted to be writing a foreword for this important eBook. Seventeen years ago I moved with my family from urban Britain to regional Queensland and have lived in regional Australia ever since. Even before making the move, we were made aware that many metropolitan folk assume the only reason to move to a regional area is to take a step back; a sea-change, a tree-change or a me-change.

My experience of regional Australia has not been one of sleepy towns with people idling their lives away. In fact my experience has been that people are every bit as dedicated and busy as their urban counterparts, probably more so. However, there is a real difference and that is there is a far greater sense of authenticity and connection in regional and rural areas. People matter, individuals matter and there is a much greater opportunity for a sense of genuine contribution to community and to feel you have made a real difference.

Living in regional areas, there can be a sense that regional policy is an afterthought and that those in our capital cities are more interested in doing things ‘for and to’ regional communities rather than ‘with and by’ to use Charles Leadbeater’s terms. Regional Australia is critical to the health and wealth of the whole nation and there we therefore need a better understanding of its issues and opportunities. We also need to ensure that rural and regional communities are involved in setting policy and determining solutions that affect their future.

The twelve chapters in this eBook deal with a very broad range of issues. Starting with landscape and social change, the various authors traverse migration, mental health issues, the lives of health professionals and through to questions of identity. They provide a deep exploration of aspects of rural and regional life. This is absolutely in line with the function of regional universities and academics to serve their communities through relevant research. I hope you enjoy this eBook and that it contributes to your understanding of rural and regional Australia.

Prof. Andrew Vann
Charles Sturt University
Australia


RELATED BOOKS

.Changing Landscapes in Urban British Churchyards.
.Changing Humanities and Smart Application of Digital Technologies.
.The Rights of Minorities: Cultural Groups, Migrants, Displaced Persons and Sexual Identity.
.Human Rights Issues and Vulnerable Groups.