Living on the Edge: Lessons from the Peri‐urban Village


The idea of an urban renaissance — based on a celebration of city life and its possibilities — is timely given half of the world’s population now resides in urban areas. Yet, as appealing as this prospect may be, both in principle and planning theory, it remains at odds with the desires of many residents who seek ‘lifestyle living’ in low‐density suburban or ex‐urban settings. This article presents the results of a qualitative investigation of what it means to ‘live on the edge’ in a peri‐urban village, as understood by residents living in those settings. These results are evaluated in light of phenomenological literature on authentic and inauthentic places, and the myriad reasons so‐called amenity migrants choose the peri‐urban village as their preferred residential location. The results of in‐depth interviews with 28 residents are presented as a four‐part typology of ‘active’ lifestylers and those searching for community, and ‘passive’ speculators and those seeking a civilized society. Though prior work suggests people are attracted to the peri‐urban village for its bio‐physical environmental features, this research suggests socioeconomic factors and opportunities for active place‐making experiences are as, if not more, important.