Rural/urban couchsurfing could uncover hidden housing opportunities

Rural/urban Couchsurfing could uncover hidden housing opportunities that can make a difference in the housing prospects for many middle-class people.

Eureka, CA / Wikipedia

Housing dislocation is a hallmark of our time, is rooted in profound changes in manufacturing, agriculture, and commerce. The manufacturing exodus to foreign countries has hollowed out industrial cities, family farms have succumbed to corporate ownership, while Walmart and online shopping have dealt a death blow to countless independent merchants.

Population loss and the resulting loss of commerce has decimated our heartland leaving forlorn cities and rural towns throughout the country. There is an opportunity here just waiting to be tapped.

Chicago Bungalows, Wikimedia

Some people living in the city are more suited for the country while others living in the country yearn for an urban lifestyle. Mutual Couchsurfing offers a mechanism to test drive an area for fit and comfort.

How Couchsurfing Works

You have friends all over the world, you just haven’t met them yet.

  • Couchsurfing is a service that connects members to a global community of travelers.
  • Use Couchsurfing to find a place to stay or share your home and hometown with travelers.
  • Couchsurfers organize regular events in 200,000 cities around the world. There’s always something to do and new friends to meet. 

Read about how it works or watch an introductory video series.

Hosting Reciprocal Rural/Urban Events

Organizing “check-us-out weekends” is a way to invite visitors to your community. Ambassador teams planning a weekend exchange would roll out the welcome mat and put their best foot forward with festivities, live music, farmers’ markets, craft fairs, and delicious local food.

This could be organized on the “sister city” model where communities intentionally collaborate together.

Many communities that have seen better days have hundreds of attractive, even charming, houses and commercial buildings. Attracting people to live there and start businesses would stimulate the economy and create jobs – especially in the building trades – good jobs for a welcome change.

Another lure of rural living is gardening. Gardeners are a passionate lot. Beyond the nutritional and economic benefit, they take pride in their work and feel rooted to the earth. Ample yards with potential for gardening is just one of many attractive features of smaller cities and rural towns.

This article, Multiple Benefits of Community Gardening lays out the substantial and overlapping benefits of community gardening. The urban agriculture phenomenon has “taken root” in a big way.

An obvious drawback of urban living is sharing space with too many people and having too few reasons to be outside. Offering opportunities to live, even part of the time, in smaller or rural areas could be a safety valve by letting people experience fresh air, rural quiet, and exercise, in a refreshing new way.

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