The future of green belts

Authored by: Laura E. Taylor

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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Green belts exist in many countries of the world to protect the near-urban countryside, which historically is that peri-urban, exurban, scenic working landscape of farmland and natural heritage that makes liveable cities possible. Green belts have always been a big idea in the rural planning imagination and are at the heart of our preoccupation with urban and rural differences, especially around cities and towns facing high growth pressures. Green belts may have originally been based on an over-simplified understanding of life and landscapes both inside and outside of the city and certainly continue to run the risk of perpetuating urban–rural environmental imaginaries. In this chapter, the green belt around the Toronto region in Canada is discussed as more recent example of a long history of rural planning and countryside protection. The Toronto example underscores the much greater appreciation we have today of how the countryside supports the health of the city. It also is a lesson in how regional planning works as a coalition of urban and rural politics and interests in creating the green belt not just as a plan but also as a sustainable living, working integrated urban–rural landscape.

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