Spatial planning and the rural economy

Authored by: Mark Scott

The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138104051
eBook ISBN: 9781315102375
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315102375-23

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Abstract

This chapter questions the role of spatial planning in promoting economic development and sustainable livelihoods in rural places. Rural development and rural spatial planning have often been poorly integrated in both theory and practice, yet development and planning practices face similar challenges and are underpinned by similar modes of policy-making, particularly the dominance of territorial approaches and community-based models. Moreover, the economic fortunes of rural places seem increasingly linked with their environmental quality (in terms of attracting capital and in-migrants) while producing environmental goods offers a potential development pathway for some rural places as producers of renewable energy or in relation to payments for ecosystem services. These perspectives suggest the need for more integrative accounts of the rural condition and potential pathways towards more resilient and sustainable rural places. In this context, spatial planning could potentially perform a key role in developing sustainable pathways for the rural economy, particularly in coordinating the spatial and territorial dimensions of rural development. However, in practice planning for rural localities is often disconnected from wider debates concerning the rural economy, with planning policy more concerned with protection and preservation of the rural landscape based on regulatory instruments. This traditional framing of rural planning is critiqued, while more proactive approaches towards rural livelihoods and economic vitality are explored.

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