The pastoral tradition, which celebrates the agrarian lifestyle as free from the complexities and corruptions of city life, has had a long run in Western civilization. This Romantic philosophy dominated Western thought when the United States became a nation. Think Thomas Jefferson in his big house on his little mountain, or Henry David Thoreau in his cabin by Walden Pond.
Today opportunities for rural living are much more constricted than they were for Jefferson or Thoreau. There are, however, areas throughout Tennessee where open fields, forests, and free-flowing streams still hold sway. And a renewed interest in small-scale farming, local food sources, and open space preservation for environmental and recreational reasons has intensified the desire to keep these areas rural.
Rural Community Basic Characteristics
- Sparsely developed.
- Primary land uses are agriculture and low-density residential.
- Limited commercial.
- Wide spaces between buildings, except for hamlet-style developments.
- Naturalistic landscaping and limited exterior and street lighting.
- Roads typically two-lane with few intersections.
- Low pedestrian and bike connectivity: few curbs, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, or bicycle paths.
- Minimal city services; many homes rely on wells and septic
Focus Factors: Food Access, Transportation, Housing
More on the rural transect: