City-exit and community-fit: Finding one’s ‘place’ in Australia

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Understanding what prompts ‘community-fit’ (subjective feeling of alignmentwith one’s residential community) is vital for retaining city-leavers voluntarilychoosing to live outside major cities and for community well-being/prosperity. InAustralia, 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
Pages (from-to)61-88
Number of pages28
JournalThe International Journal of Community and Social Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


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