City-exit and Community-fit: Finding One’s ‘Place’ in Australia

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Abstract

Understanding what prompts ‘community-fit’ (subjective feeling of alignment
with one’s residential community) is vital for retaining city-leavers voluntarily
choosing to live outside major cities and for community well-being/prosperity. In
Australia, city-exit is supported by decentralisation policy and media using imagery of gentrified rurality, wholesome communities, and affordability to assuage metropolitan congestion and address non-coastal rural-regional depopulation. This results in land development accompanied by population turnover as a few urbanites permanently relocate inland. By presenting a thematic analysis of interviews with city-leavers and government/industry professionals, this article identifies key factors affecting (dis)satisfaction with communities sought/left. Findings show community satisfaction is achieved through sociocultural-affirming social interactions, not property/amenity consumption. Hence, developing rural regional marketing strategies that better articulate communities’ sociocultural dimensions may increase awareness of place-based values/characteristics prerelocationto avoid poor community fit and cost. Finally, to support resident retention, inclusivity practices accompanying community change are advocated.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalThe International Journal of Community and Social Development
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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