‘… Silver in the Stars and Gold in the Morning Sun’: Non-farm Rural Landowners' Motivations for Rural Living and Attachment to their Land Academic Article uri icon


  • Studies have identified that, given the opportunity, the majority of North Americans would prefer to live in small towns and rural areas. This preference is based in aesthetic notions linked to landscape features, personal meaning, and perceptions. In order to understand how the growing non-farm rural landowner population will influence the rural landscape, this research explored the motivations of non-farm rural landowners for living in rural areas, and their perceptions of their property. It involved five preliminary focus groups with farm and non farm landowners owning land in rural, urbanising rural, and urbanised rural areas, and four final focus groups. The research also included a survey of 944 landowners in Southern Ontario. People choose to live in rural areas because they are quiet, natural, open, private, and clean. In contrast, people chose to buy their properties for very practical reasons: location, cost, availability and quality of resources, and size. Results suggest that non-farm rural landowners prefer landscapes with trees and water, and landscape health, restorative benefits, and aesthetic quality are crucial. Associations with family, history, and activities provide the affective connection which supports ongoing efforts on their land. © 2010 Landscape Research Group Ltd.

author list (cited authors)

  • Milburn, L., Brown, R., & Mulley, S. J.

citation count

  • 8

publication date

  • February 2010