County Lines: The Rural-Urban Divide

County Lines is WYSO's series focusing on small towns and rural communities in the greater Dayton area. Funded by a grant from Ohio Humanities, Community Voices producer Renee Wilde travels down the highways and back roads to tell stories of country life that go beyond the stereotypes. This week, hear three short stories from County Lines about Ohio’s rural-urban divide and the spaces in between. Listen to more stories from the series at

Act 1: Although the term Urban Sprawl was coined in the 1930’s, by the ‘70’s, it was a hot topic, as increasingly more rural areas, and farmland, were divided up and paved over into strip malls and subdivisions. This spreading ring around our cities where urban sprawl is happening is officially known as the Rural-Urban Fringe. Today on County Lines, producer Renee Wilde takes us there.

Act 2: Looking out over the rolling farm fields from the front porch of his 94 acre farm in Gambier, located in Knox county, former Kenyon College professor and former Director of the Rural Life Center, Howard Sacks reflects on what the definition of rural character is, and what it means to him.

Act 3: Steven Conn, the W.E. Smith Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is a regular contributor to the Dayton Daily News and the Huffington Post and a frequent lecturer in the US and around the world on a variety of topics. He’s also the editor of Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective. His most recent book is Americans Against the City: Anti-Urbanism in the 20th Century. Today, he shares his thoughts about attitudes and public policy toward immigrants in southwest Ohio.

And, later this year, join WYSO and Ohio Humanities again for the forthcoming series The Ohio Country. Native men and women from different tribes and their allies—plus teachers, artists, scholars, parents, landowners, foresters, young people, and historians, too—will tell their stories about the about the lands above the Ohio River, known as the Ohio Country. You can listen in this feed, at,, and in all those other places where you get podcasts.
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