Rural transitions in the Nambucca Valley: socio-demographic change in a disadvantaged rural locale

Holmes, John and Argent, Neil (2016) Rural transitions in the Nambucca Valley: socio-demographic change in a disadvantaged rural locale. Journal of Rural Studies, 48 129-142. doi:10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.06.009

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Author Holmes, John
Argent, Neil
Title Rural transitions in the Nambucca Valley: socio-demographic change in a disadvantaged rural locale
Journal name Journal of Rural Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0743-0167
Publication date 2016-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.06.009
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 48
Start page 129
End page 142
Total pages 14
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon Press
Language eng
Subject 3305 Geography, Planning and Development
3303 Development
3312 Sociology and Political Science
Abstract Within current rural research, an ongoing challenge has been to conceptualise the overarching dynamics driving rural transitions in affluent societies, while also recognising diversity and complexity in driving forces and trajectories over time and place. While amenity migration may continue to be influential, more recent research has revealed that there are multiple driving forces leading towards diverse multifunctional rural occupance modes and trajectories. With its oversupply of desirable rural destinations, transitions along the subtropical New South Wales coast have been marked by increasingly divergent socioeconomic trajectories, tied to perceived gradients in amenity and sequential gradients in affordability related to inherent and constructed place imagery. We explore early- and late-phase transitions in the Nambucca Valley, one region within this zone. Initially available at exceptionally low entry costs, a plentiful supply of former dairyfarms attracted undercapitalised migrants seeking a rural lifestyle and possibly a livelihood from on-farm or non-farm sources. With limited finances, near-zero borrowing capacity and an ill-informed, opportunistic approach towards initiating their prospective cropping and/or livestock ventures, newcomers were destined to fail. Notwithstanding its high natural landscape and liveability values, the Nambucca Valley has been bypassed during the later-phase, locationally selective commodification of rural hinterlands. With its now-entrenched image of disadvantage, Nambucca lacks the market-oriented positional values accruing to prime destinations elsewhere along the subtropical coast. Given the continuing inability of Nambucca's rural landholdings to support cropping and livestock livelihoods, and the compatibility between consumption and protection outcomes, there is a high probability of entrenching a complex multifunctional mode of rural occupance for the foreseeable future. In this mode, consumption of the countryside’ by residents with modest incomes will be most influential in shaping rural socioeconomic futures, but with desultory production and protection activity together with reduced inputs into property management shaping rural landscapes.
Keyword Amenity migration
Multifunctional rural transitions
Nambucca Valley
Rural demographic change
Rural gentrification
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID DP 0770460
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Publications
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