Friday, March 16, 2007

Virtual villages

The Future Foundation has just released the latest chapter in its ongoing Local Life report (commissioned by Brando for Somerfield), this time looking at various types of modern neighbourhoods. Although I was interested in what they had to say about young fogeys and bricklayers' wives (guess which category is the neatest fit for me), there is also a look at what they describe as 'virtual villages'.

The report points out that in 2001, fewer than half (49%) of people in rural or country areas had access to the internet. By 2006 this had risen to 63%.By comparison, urban areas have seen slower growth: in 2001 63% of people in city or metropolitan areas had access to the internet. Moreover says the report, net users in rural areas are now using the internet more regularly than their urban counterparts, and this is something new. In 2001, 34% of internet users in rural/country areas used it everyday or nearly everyday. By 2006 this had risen to 49%. In 2001 39% of internet users in cities used the internet everyday or nearly everyday. By 2006 this had risen to 46%.

The main Virtual Village areas are largely along the M3 and M4, the ‘silicon corridor’ of South-Central England, a ‘digital triangle’, of rural areas lying between London, Bristol and Southampton. The Top 10 'Virtual Villages' areas are named as:
South Cambridgeshire
Aylesbury Vale
South Oxfordshire
West Berkshire
Vale of White Horse
South Northamptonshire
West Oxfordshire

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