The multifunctionality of country stores: Insights on resilience from rural Vermont

from Health Economics at on June 29, 2017 at 01:25AM


A multifunctionality analysis of built environments within rural landscapes can deepen understanding of how contemporary rural places function. There is an urgent need for this knowledge as small towns in the United States lose socio-economic infrastructure resulting from restructuring, demographic change, and the centralization of services. This qualitative and exploratory study of country stores in rural Vermont finds that stores operate as key socio-spatial nodes within broader geographic networks. Analysis of the goods, functions, and services stores furnish reveals the reflexive relationships stores have with the physical and cultural geographies of their regions. In moments of community crisis and under certain conditions, stores exhibit hyper-functionality. Built environments and their socio-spatial roles in multifunctional landscapes should be included in analyses of rural community resilience.

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