Spreading Ideas #68 #cong18


Rural Communities need a vision that’s strongly held

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Coming soon.

About Tracy Keogh:

Community Manager with BOI, worker at Grow Remote

Contacting Tracy Keogh:

You can follow Tracy on Twitter.

By Tracy Keogh

Can you see it? You’re in the burren You wake up and grab a cup of coffee, you’re looking out on a big front lawn with a view of pure nature.

You get the kids ready and they go to the local school via a ride sharing app that distributes the school runs between parents, you’d call the autonomous car, but Cillian and Meghan would kill each other if they had 10 minutes without supervision. Machines haven’t totally killed the need humans it seems, although you’d pay premium for the service. The school they go to has a brilliant pupil to teacher ratio and every kid is encouraged to be themselves, because the time is there to understand them individually.

They go and you travel 20 minutes on open roads. You’re working in a local coworking space because yes there’s internet there…but also, humans. You call Budapest to work with your favourite Hungarian. They talk to you over Zoom and because the culture is built on a distrusted model, you’ve learnt to start conversations by getting to know them. They always have crazy stories about the ruin bars - it’s an escape into a totally different world as well as getting that international experience we need to grow our careers.

The rest of the day is pretty average, you do work between the computer and you. You happen to hear a debate on local radio: “It’s well and good for the tech workers, sure you can work for Google in the Burren, but what about us taxi drivers?”. They used to have a crucial role in local communities but now they’ve been taken over by machines. The unfairness. Luckily, our government were fairly clear on this - JLR were building autonomous cars in Shannon, we knew what was coming. So for the 2 years prior, we ran re-skilling programmes and a lot of those taxi drivers are now teaching the machines. The reskilling programmes have worked in some parts, but conversation begins to turn towards universal basic income.

You do a 10 hour day and still get home for 6.30pm. Your partner picked up some incredible home grown vegetables that morning, the farmers market providing some of the tastiest food again. You cook dinner and have it ready for after a cycle - luckily, your community has realised the value of building infrastructure for lifestyle, because that’s what communities are competing on now. The cycle lanes are the perfect mix of scenery, challenge, and relief.

Back home for 9, dinner in and you hop on a call with the US. They’re just starting on a project and need your support. No problem putting a couple of hours in now, you can get them back, that’s part of this remote, flexible thing.

You spend an hour watching some rubbish TV and you walk up to your spacious bedroom. Today you’ve worked in Budapest, the burren, and the US but never left Clare. You’ve ate food that nourishes you, you’ve supported local, you’ve spent all of your time on the things you chose to do. Everything is purposeful. There’s no part of your day that’s imposed on you.

The future of mobility and ways of working have collided and everyone’s jealous of those who invested in this way of life in the 2000’s. They’re stuck in these cities, these offices, because the price of houses has been driven up so much in rural areas - rural is now the realistic dream. The backwards companies? They’re in cities. The forward thinking companies let you be, wherever that may be.

Of course this brings with it it’s own set of problems, but isn’t that equal unfairness the dream?

This is my idea of rural Ireland, and why I can physically feel it hurt when I hear “post offices are the death of rural Ireland”. I think we’re clinging to the past because we have no clear, tangible, real, vision of the future. Plenty of people have plenty of ideas of what rural Ireland could be, but it’s about time we focused on spreading that?

And I’m only left to wonder how does that idea spread, and to add a little to the conversation, what of the strategic communications unit?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *