Challenging the Urban/Rural Divide: Implications for Contemporary Planning Theory and Practice
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5070/BP331042884
Defining the American urban form relies on a perceived division between ‘urban’ and ‘rural’ areas. I trace the idea of the urban/rural divide through the evolution of human settlement patterns in the United States from the nineteenth century onwards. I argue that while a superficial distinction between urban and rural land was once relevant to characterizing city forms and metropolitan growth trends, in contemporary contexts there no longer exists an actual separation of lands based on their ‘natural’ character around cities. Thus, continuing to plan for urban/rural areas ignores how pressing planning concerns arise from greater socio-ecological processes, and places that extend beyond designated settlement boundaries. I explore how new conceptualizations of urbanization, including urban sustainability, urban resilience, and planetary urbanization, can inform a post-urban/rural divide planning paradigm.