The state—especially its northeastern part—has a unique location as the closest deep red state to the Mid-Atlantic (and especially DC), and strong natural beauty and a decent/good climate. It bridges several regions, giving it cultural traits that could make a wide range of people feel at home there, and has both excellent outdoor activity opportunities and a rich history.
Yet the state has been losing population, and land prices remain generally very low, often still below their ~2005-7 peak. As politically motivated geographic sorting accelerates—with a second round of lockdowns and Covid-related mandates offering a particular impetus for many who have not yet left blue states to move—West Virginia has not been one of the prominent destination states (unlike Florida, Texas, and Idaho). Yet I think this could be changed.
One step could be building new real estate developments that attract early movers or trend-setters—especially those who would spearhead the sort of communities that help build desired services (aligned with our values) and draw a broader wave of aligned people to the state and to these communities/developments, rewarding the early movers and investors. Among these could be developments designed to attract people, or even groups of people moving together, looking for both a politically aligned home but also some immediate community of similarly-positioned people and drawn to a rural space where they can have significant land (an immediate draw vs already-popular destinations). Particular targets could be home schoolers (b/c schools—requiring larger scale to create—are not an impediment) and retirees, especially those moving from the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic who like the climate/geography and/or still have family, professional networks, or even some business in the area.
Through New Founding, we could help advertise these developments—in line with our broader red state thesis and promotion of a way of life compatible with what these could offer—and organize people for both their execution and early adoption.
I’d like to hear from anyone with insights, including experience with such developments or in West Virginia, and what it would take to pursue such projects at a meaningful scale.