Journal of Rural and Community Development
Residents of high amenity rural areas in the U.S. are grappling with the community-level impacts of their small towns increasingly becoming destinations for in-migrants, seasonal residents, and tourists. This case study of an emerging destination uses alterity theory to examine how amenity migration affects residents' community making and subsequently their community development efforts. Residents tend to see their community as divided into two social groups based upon opposed stances towards development; one resistant to any form of change and the other open. The 'Keepers' are seen as stuck in their ways and closed to any form of development while the 'Changers' are perceived as trying to change too much and turn the community into a more established amenity destination - like Aspen - through various local development projects. In-depth interviews with residents and observations in one amenity destination show how two groups exist and differ along key social and demographic dimensions, but how residents' interests in community development are more intertwined than they assume. The negative perceptions that residents have of each other, however, have real consequences for the town because it fosters misunderstandings, prevents cooperation, and inhibits the building of social capital which prevents integrated community development efforts. Specifically, it creates the reality and perception that various development projects do not have everyone's support or input and it has prevented some efforts from occurring at all. This research provides rural sociologists and community developers with a more nuanced understanding of how the growing trend of amenity migration can shape residents' daily interactions as well as overarching community development efforts.
Ulrich-Schad, J. D. (2018). "We didn't move here to move to Aspen": community making and community development in an emerging rural amenity destination. Journal of Rural and Community Development, 13(4), 43-66.