Dreaming of a Smallholding
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Original versionSociologia Ruralis 2010, 50(3):225-241 10.1111/j.1467-9523.2010.00513.x
The article examines a phenomenon associated with the rural idyll – the dream of becoming the owner of a smallholding in the countryside. Much research and policy concern in Norway have focused upon rural–urban migration trends and the consequences of the urbanisation process on the sustainability of rural communities. Less attention has been given to the counter trend, that is, urban dwellers searching for a better quality of life in the countryside. The article is based on data from a Norwegian national survey and analyses a question measuring respondents' interest in buying a smallholding. The analysis involves an estimation of a regression model to determine which demographic, socioeconomic and attitudinal variables influence people's interest in buying a smallholding. Further, we were interested in their plans for the smallholding (farming, residence, second home) and the kind of influences these potential new smallholding owners might have on rural communities. Three categories of potential smallholders are identified: aspiring farmers, country-life lovers and recreation seekers. The results indicate that those who live in urban areas are more interested in buying a smallholding than those already living in rural areas.