New Geography posits that as coastal cities become more expensive and crowded, that we will see a pronounced migration and subsequent boom in the heartland, especially in small cities. This may already be happening, as some of these areas have been growing, even during the current recession.
The advent of the Internet, which has broken the traditional isolation of rural communities, has facilitated the movement of technology companies, business services and manufacturing firms to the nation’s interior. This will reinforce not so much a movement to remote hamlets but to the growing number of dynamic small cities and towns throughout the Heartland.
The other critical element concerns the traditional role of the Heartland as a producer of critical raw materials. As world competition for food and energy supplies intensifies, a critical primary advantage for the United States in contrast with China, India, Japan and the European Union will lie with the vast natural abundance of its Heartland regions.
A friend moved back to Des Moines, Iowa a while back. She’s an artist. She and her husband bought a Victorian house for a modest sum. The city has a thriving artist’s district. Iowa is a major leader in wind energy. And the state legalized same-sex marriage last year. I suspect there are many small cities like Des Moines out there in the heartland, quietly thriving. Shh, don’t tell the Californians or they’ll move there and screw things up. 🙂