The Geography of Remote Work
Laetitia Vitaud

A very stimulating article. There are various forces that attract and repel adults to and from cities.

When I assisted a chimney sweep working inside and well outside of Auckland I had the opportunity to met many families. Some people love the city and some hate it and probably most of us are in between. There was even one couple where the man worked on his remote and stunningly beautiful farm and his wife lived in an apartment in the city about 2 hours away.

In the past you only needed a single job for a family but now you need two. That would not be quite as significant if we didn’t change jobs — the days when you left school, started work and stayed with the same employer at the same location has gone. This makes staying put in low density areas difficult. Then even if both adults have jobs (say running a small business together) in a remote area they will have concerns about schools for their children. As villages die so do their schools and once your children are traveling over half an hour too and from school you are likely to move on.

Another factor is the countryside has what are usually considered jobs for men — farming and its various support jobs. Young men may love their work with its associated hunting, shooting and fishing but they will still abandon it if there are no young women within range.

Many families dream of living in the country with plenty of space; lifestyle blocks are popular. But we now live longer; we live beyond the age we can safely drive and many need access to medical facilities. And even if healthy once your partner dies you are left lonely in the country so you move to where your children are within easy reach.

These are factors extra to the obvious ‘pull’ of work availability and the ‘push’ of house prices.

Conclusion: although some love the city there are many who would prefer a quiet place surrounded by nature. For the reasons listed above the latter are forced into cities rather against their will. Given further automation in farming it will get worse. The effect will be seen at its worst in countries that depend on farming and have low density of population — see New Zealand.

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