Communally built road rest stops that sustain village communities
Image credit: Vera Kratochvil
Darko SavicNov 04, 2021
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Village communities positioned next to major routes can pool resources to build large rest areas and surround them with small businesses. This becomes a new source of income/jobs for the villagers.
Provide economic opportunities for remote village communities.
Stop young people from leaving their homeland in search of better opportunities.
Provide communities with a common goal they can unite behind.
How it works
Wherever an important road is passing through a small village, there is an opportunity to monetize on the passing traffic.
Step 1: build an amazing resting area:
The village community creates a fund to which every household commits money over a specific time frame.
The fund buys a large area next to the road and converts it into a huge parking lot.
Step 2: sell great local products/services:
Everything else the villagers can build themselves gradually over time. All around the parking lot they build many small businesses run by the local villagers. They can sell their agricultural produce, crafts, art, food, drinks. There could be motels, horseback rides, swimming area, farm-to-farm wine/food tasting tours, etc.
This becomes the secondary (if not main) source of income and place of work for the villagers.
Step 3: get people to stop
Well before the parking lot, start advertizing the resting area and everything it offers. Hyper it progressively with each sign. This helps people get into the mood for taking a break, having some lunch, etc.
This could be the first step to building a designer town.
I find this idea very interesting, but not very novel. In Croatia, there are not a lot of highways, and 15-years ago, all traffic was focused on smaller regional roads. Around these regional roads, few places like you described popped up and become popular. Some of them are Borje and Macola, restaurants on the road connecting central Croatia with the Adriatic coast. They sell local homemade products from surrounding farms and family businesses, have accommodation, and are usually close to the gas stations.
Maybe the most interesting one I visited was vas Dobrevski Restaurant in Central Bulgaria. At first, it looked like any other restaurant along the road, but I was surprised by how much homemade products they had to offer. After some talking, I realized there is a huge farm behind the restaurant, where few families have cow and pig farms, large fields of vegetables and grain. It was a cool example of how local communities can organize and sell their products.
This is example of private investment, but it could be, as you mentioned, locally supported by the governing bodies. What I see as a big flaw is the fact that many village communities are not along the important roads and would not have sufficient traffic in order to be sustainable. One idea could be to partner up with gas stations and build small market with local products next to it.