Ever since Americans have had to define what “rural” means, they have done so simply by saying what it is not. In common usage, rural is any place not populous, not developed, not easily reached by an interstate. Our national authority on demographics, the U.S. Census Bureau, classifies it merely as a remainder: “‘Rural’ encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.” That’s it.
And yet, anyone who has ever left the highway in the Golden State knows that rural California is a place far too diverse to lump into the category “other.” From Modoc County to Raisin City, from the Carissa Plains to the Coachella Valley, the experience is in fact one of diversity and depth. The stories here are about rural California as a world unto itself—not a list of the things it is not, but an exploration of the things that it is.
Written by Lisa Hamilton
I find this project very interesting. It includes audio excerpts, maps, photography and short written materials to share the stories of rural California.
Taking advantage of the fact that hundreds of people sit and wait for hours each day in Highland Hospital alone, we will transform the waiting room into a storytelling space and provide the human and technological resources for patients to tell and listen to stories on-site. At the heart of this effort is an interactive story booth to be built – in partnership with the Alameda County Medical Center – as a permanent feature into Highland Hospital’s waiting room. The booth will allow patients and staff the opportunity both to record their own story as well as view other stories from the community. The booth will ask the user to either respond to either a theme or issue-based question. Booth users – depending on the level of privacy they desire – will have four ways to communicate: video, audio, text and physical journal.