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Remote work and the redrawing of the US rural imaginary during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Remote work and the redrawing of the US rural imaginary during the COVID-19 Pandemic

"Remote work and the redrawing of the US rural imaginary during the COVID-19 Pandemic". Research presented at the Communicative Cities Research Network Symposium 2022, organized by the European Communication Research and Education Association and hosted by the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Alberto Lusoli

March 24, 2022
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  1. Alberto Lusoli, Digital Democracies Institute REMOTE WORK AND THE REDRAWING

    OF THE US RURAL IMAGINARY DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC March 25, 2022. Communicative Cities Research Network Symposium
  2. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. The context 2. Research questions 3.

    Methodology 4. Findings 5. Discussion 1 2 3 4 5 ALBERTO LUSOLI DIGITALDEMOCRACIES.ORG ALUSOLI@SFU.CA @albertolusoli 2
  3. THE CONTEXT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND THE SHIFT TO REMOTE

    WORK 1 3
  4. 4 1. THE CONTEXT

  5. 3 1. THE CONTEXT Apple One Infinite Loop. Credits: Wikimedia

  6. Relocation programs provide economic incentives and other perks, such as

    free access to coworking spaces and invitations to exclusive events, to skilled workers willing to move to secondary cities and rural regions. Photo: Startup Weekend Hackathon. Nov.2014 SKILLED WORKERS RELOCATION PROGRAMS 1. THE CONTEXT 7 Credits: Remote Shoals 6
  7. 7 RESEARCH QUESTIONS 2

  8. 1. What are the themes employed by secondary cities and

    rural regions in their attempt to rebrand themselves as places for remote tech and creative workers? 2. How do these themes contrast with the narratives offered by major US tech regions? Photo: Startup Weekend Hackathon. Nov.2014 2. RESEARCH QUESTIONS 8
  9. 9 METHODOLOGY 3

  10. Photo: Startup Weekend Hackathon. Nov.2014 10 FINDING RELOCATION PROGRAMS 15

    relocation programs for remote workers extracted from MakeMyMove.com Interactive dashboard available here 👇 http://tiny.cc/CCRN22 3. METHODOLOGY Program City State Website 218Relocate Bemidji Minnesota https://www.218relocate.com/ Ascend West Virginia Lewisburg West Virginia https://ascendwv.com/ Bloomington Remote Bloomington Indiana https://www.bloomingtonremote.com/ Chattanooga Calling Chattanooga Tennessee https://chattanoogacalling.com/ Choose Topeka Topeka Kansas https://choosetopeka.com/ Finding NWA Fayetteville Arkansas https://findingnwa.com/ Innovate Vegas Las Vegas Nevada https://innovate.vegas/ Johnstown Johnstown Pennsylvania https://www.crchamber.com/ Live + Work in Maine Augusta Maine https://liveandworkinmaine.com/ Move to Michigan Benton Harbor Michigan https://movetomichigan.org/ Remote Shoals Florence Alabama https://remoteshoals.com/ The Creative Coast Savannah Georgia https://thecreativecoast.org/ Think Vermont Montpelier Vermont https://thinkvermont.com/ Tulsa Remote Tulsa Oklahoma https://tulsaremote.com/ Work From Purdue West Lafayette Indiana https://www.workfrompurdue.com/
  11. 3. METHODOLOGY 11 RELOCATION PROGRAM WEBSITE n=15 WEB CRAWLER SocNetV

    https://socnetv.org/ MOST RELEVANT PAGES PER WEBSITE Based on webpages in-degree centrality. n=117
  12. 3. METHODOLOGY 12 QUALITATIVE CONTENT ANALYSIS DASHBOARD http://tiny.cc/CCRN22 VISUAL CONTENTS

    15 codes split into 3 main themes TEXTUAL CONTENTS 32 codes split into 4 main themes
  13. 3. METHODOLOGY 13 Example of page coded in Nvivo

  14. 14 FINDINGS 4

  15. 15 ANALYSIS OF TEXTUAL CONTENTS Dataset and coding protocol available

    here: http://tiny.cc/datasets 4. FINDINGS
  16. 16 ANALYSIS OF VISUAL CONTENTS Dataset and coding protocol available

    here: http://tiny.cc/datasets 4. FINDINGS
  17. Photo: Startup Weekend Hackathon. Nov.2014 This theme develops around 4

    main sub-themes, or codes: 1. Outdoor recreation (17.7%)* 2. Access to nature (16.2%)* 3. Social justice and inclusion (14%)* 4. Community (10 programs out of 15) * % of codes within the Quality of Life theme. T1: QUALITY OF LIFE 17 4. FINDINGS Credits: Tulsa Remote
  18. Credits: Remote Shoals Connectivity, as in: 1. Connection to the

    network of local entrepreneurs and tech workers; 2. High-speed internet connection; 3. Connection to major transportation infrastructures (airports and highways). T2: WORK ENVIRONMENT 8 4. FINDINGS 18
  19. Photo: Startup Weekend Hackathon. Nov.2014 The theme develop around four

    main subthemes: 1. School and education (41.7%);* 2. Affordable housing (32.1%); * 3. Health care (23.8%);* 4. Childcare (2.4%).* * % of codes within the Essential Services theme T3: ESSENTIAL SERVICES 8 4. FINDINGS Photo: Tulsa Remote Credits: 218 Relocate. Bemidji, MN 19
  20. Credits: Remote Shoals Incentives to remote workers: 1. Economic incentives:

    7 out of 15 programs; 2. Fiscal incentives: 6 out of 15 programs; 3. In-kind incentives: 7 out of 15 programs. T4: INCENTIVES 8 20
  21. DISCUSSION 5 21

  22. Photo: Startup Weekend Hackathon. Nov.2014 19 REIMAGINING THE RURAL Heartland

    values such as homeownership and family/community ties counter the image of the individualist, self-reliant, nomadic knowledge worker idealized by Richard Florida’s creative class. 5. DISCUSSION 22
  23. REIMAGINING THE RURAL Relocation programs incorporate and adapt some of

    the themes underpinning the creative-city model into their narratives. These include: ▪ Authenticity ▪ Diversity and social justice ▪ Entertainment and recreation 5. DISCUSSION 23 Credits: Freepik - Flaticon
  24. Photo: Remote Shoals RQ1: Relocation programs promote rural regions and

    secondary cities through themes such as: life quality, authenticity, inclusion and social justice, work environment and recreation. RQ2: These themes react to, and reproduce, creative-city inspired themes, and combine them with heartland values such as family, home ownership, safety. CONCLUSIONS 8 Credits: Tulsa Remote 24
  25. Alberto Lusoli alusoli@sfu.ca twitter.com/albertolusoli digitaldemocracies.org Except where otherwise noted, all

    photos used in this presentation were taken by Alberto Lusoli and distributed under Creative Common license. THANK YOU