The urbanised rural
Paper in proceedings, 2016
Urbanisation is still understood largely as a one-directed process of people and industry moving to larger cities, causing de-popularisation of rural areas. City growth is an obvious tendency and has rendered “the urban” a normative political role in planning and governance. Uneven geographic development escalates in Sweden like in several other countries and increase needs to improve adequate local-regional planning practice for development and transformation. Cities and the urban have become idealised as models for living, production and consumption and tend to detach rural and sparsely populated areas as something essentially different.
However, this is a severe simplification. Many contemporary changes of rural areas may originate in cities, and could be regarded as extended colonisations of the rural by cities, but mainly marks a shift since early industrialism concerning regionalisation. From start it was a process that dissolved city-countryside dichotomies, and both current and earlier planning practice in Sweden has involved “urban” and “rural” areas of extensive variation and diverse forms. Simplified understandings of the term urbanisation still neglect regional interdependencies, exchanges and connections but with ecology and global economy it is obvious that the processes of urbanisation have twoway directions, connecting and affecting both cities and rural landscapes. Hence, implying that we must regard regions as integrated planning contexts in a wide range of environments, we ask: What does this mean for planning?
urban and rural