Community and Regional Planning Program

 

Date of this Version

4-2010

Comments

study prepared by a research team from the College of Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. April 2010.
For more information, contact: Professor James Potter (402) 472-9240 or Associate Professor, Rodrigo Cantarero (402) 472-9278

Abstract

Crete, Nebraska, is on the cutting edge of a global economy in which people are migrating to places that offer jobs and a better quality of life. Between 2000 and 2008, the population of Crete rose from 6,028 to 6,241, an increase of3.5%. In the year 2001, when the initial study was conducted, Crete's local Farmland pork processing plant increased its workforce from 1,200 to 1,650. In today's economy, these 450 new jobs are likely to attract workers from around the world. In recent years, for example, workers have come to Crete from Vietnam, Korea, Laos, Croatia, Serbia, Iraq, and from countries throughout Latin America.

Demographic changes like these are having profound impacts on small rural communities like Crete. They tend to bring renewed economic vigor but they also present a complex array of physical, social, psychological, and cultural challenges. To better understand these challenges from a local perspective, a research team from the College of Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has developed a process to allow local residents to express their perceptions of the changing quality of life in their community. This process provides an opportunity to compare and contrast perceptions of the quality of life among long-term residents (over 15 years in the community) and short-term residents (less than five years in the community). An initial study was done in 2001 and a follow-up study was done in 2008. This report documents findings from the follow-up study.

Based on an in-depth door-to-door survey of nearly 100 households in Crete, the following conclusions were reached about resident perceptions:
1. Crete residents are satisfied with their overall quality of life.
2. Crete residents feel they enjoy a good quality of life.
3. Additional efforts are needed to better meet the housing needs of Crete.
4. Long-term residents tend to feel conditions are worsening, while short-term residents tend to feel some conditions are improving.
5. Short-term residents tend to feel higher levels of stress than long-term residents.

The study concludes with a series of recommended activities that seek to build upon the strengths that Crete offers as a community.