ANALYSING THE RURAL VITALITY ARGUMENT FOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT: LINKING DISCOURSES AND ACTUAL SPATIAL DEVELOPMENTS

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT

In the heated debate on new residential development in the countryside, rural vitality is used in three different discourses: the agri-rural, utilitarian and hedonist. Discussions on the future of the Dutch countryside in general and a designated National Landscape north of Amsterdam in particular illustrate how the term rural vitality, depending on the discourse, is used to either support or oppose residential development. As in the region studied, the utilitarian discourse is increasingly important and its consequences – residential development in a highly valued landscape – are most controversial, we chose to evaluate its validity. This quantitative evaluation makes use of a geographical information system (GIS) and highly detailed spatial data. The results show no clear relationship between the construction of houses and different indicators of rural vitality such as employment and facility levels. Therefore, we question the validity of the utilitarian discourses' argument for supporting residential development.

Keywords: Rural vitality; discourse; open space preservation; socio-economic development; spatial analysis; spatial planning

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9663.2010.00637.x

Affiliations: 1: Court of Audit of the Municipality of Rotterdam and Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands., Email: e.vanRij@rekenkamer.rotterdam.nl 2: Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit (FEWEB-VU) and Geodan Next b.v., Amsterdam, the Netherlands., Email: ekoomen@feweb.vu.nl

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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