Rural infrastructures

Authored by: Nick Gallent

The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning

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

Print ISBN: 9781138104051
eBook ISBN: 9781315102375
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines service provision in rural areas, framed as ‘rural infrastructures’. The rural service challenge is commonly presented as one of increased per capita costs of servicing the needs of a more spatially dispersed population. Higher costs for the public and private sectors mean that service choice for the rural consumer is more limited. People will have to journey by private car to access that choice, often because bus services are irregular. In the past, responses to this challenge have involved smarter public intervention, supported enterprise and a reliance on voluntary action. While the standard concerns of rural service provision are addressed in this chapter, a broader view of is also offered. Rural infrastructures include the full-range of community infrastructure (public and private, from health care, through affordable housing, to local transport) while social infrastructures are those that provide communities with soft support (community groups and local networks). Rural infrastructures are provided through combined inputs: different sources of funding and finance, from within and outside the community, and through the social exchanges that deliver community capacity (i.e. the social capital dimension of community development).

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