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July 2002 Issue
The Geographical Review
July 2002, Vol. 92 (3), pp. 432-451
RURAL PLACE ATTACHMENT IN HISPANO URBAN CENTERS
JEFFREY S. SMITH
Keywords: Colorado, Hispanos, New Mexico,
rural villages, urban place attachment.
Continued rural-to-urban migration has helped motivate cultural geographers, long suspected of having a rural bias, to include urban areas in their purview. Patterns of gender, class, ethnicity, and commercialization have proved to be fertile subjects for research, but the elastic links between rural and urban places are not yet well understood. Hispanos, despite intense feelings of loyalty to their rural villages, moved en masse to cities in the 1940s. By the 1950s a majority of Hispanos living in regional urban centers of the upper Rio Grande country, where wages were higher and employment was secure. This Hispano experience is a crucible for examining how urbanites' attachment to rural places is manifested in various cultural expressions brought from country to city: painted murals, burial preferences, popular music, and irrigation ditches. Understanding threads of rural culture that have been incorporated into the urban fabric in turn leads to clearer comprehension of the emotional attachment that urbanites have for rural areas and a better appreciation of the complexity of the urban cultural environment.