I had an hour today so I started looking into population figures in Skellefteå municipality because I've still got that idea that the focus for growth should be put to rural areas over the town centre.
In short, a byproduct of rural investment and creating opportunities will see more people move here, more money be generated and more money ultimately spent. If the town centre has more attractions, then that is where people are going to go.
But there is little evidence to really suggest that it would work other than a belief, but if you continue to invest in the centre that will merely get bigger while everything outside of the centre will just get smaller. And for that, there is plenty of evidence.
But if you look at the numbers over a 20 year period, it paints an interesting picture.
What these numbers basically tell us is that most of the villages or small towns in Skellefteå are seeing people leave but the numbers leaving those areas aren't going to Skellefteå. The numbers don't tell us that, but we all know that. It could be that some are leaving to move to the likes of Kåge, Drängsmark or Myckle, as they're actually seeing a growth in numbers, but even then, the numbers don't really add up, although it's clear they're doing something right.
This is a simplistic view, but if anything it supports the need for rural investment over centralised investment if only because it shouldn't be about the centre. We need to find new ways to do this too, it can't just be about throwing money at something, it has to be about taking a long term view and looking at new models to make things happen to support rural growth.