Updated Project Proposal

Since I posted my initial idea I have done some research and gotten a better idea of my interviewing prospects in the area, and this has changed my research question a little.  I initially wanted to research why individuals without a connection to the area such as work, education, or family would choose to retire in the area.  With a little more perspective I’ve realized that this ‘displaced’ group of individuals is probably smaller than I thought, and focusing on retirees with no attachment to the area could limit my view of the people who retire to Williamsburg.  I am instead going to explore why people  retire in Williamsburg despite being from elsewhere, with a focus on those with no family in the area if possible.  In my research on and relationships with retired persons I’ve found that there’s a certain checklist of things people consider when choosing a place to retire.  These things include climate, property values and tax policy, availability of medical facilities, proximity to family, things to do, type of community, and others.  In my interviews I would like to determine how people chose Williamsburg and if any of these factors is a certain ‘tipping point,’ or if reasons vary widely among individuals.  Furthermore, I would like to research how important institutions in Williamsburg, such as Colonial Williamsburg, the College of William and Mary, and Busch Gardens, contribute to the definition of community or bring people to the area.  Do any one of these stand out more than the others?  I will explore these questions through oral history interviews with retirees in the area.  Finally I would like to use my ‘library research’ to explore how Williamsburg fits into the national context of retirement.  Is Williamsburg different or unique relative to other areas of the country, region, or state?  Why or why not?

1 Response to “Updated Project Proposal”


  1. 1 dcpratt March 9, 2012 at 12:02 am

    You’re doing a nice job honing your ideas and questions. I’m quite interested in what you’re going to find about Williamsburg as a retirement destination in a national context. For instance, you’ve been finding that Williamsburg in and of itself is attractive as a retirement destination for only a small group of people–that some kind of roots in the area are often important in decisions to retire here. I wonder if the same is true in a place like Sun City, AZ?

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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