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GE2226 IndividualAssignement

Rural Development
Holly Hapke
DOI:10.4135/9781412952422.n254Print pages: 415-416Show page numbers The concept of rural development embodies a broad range of ideas and practices that defy easy definition. Loosely, rural development refers to the desire and effort to provide a better quality of life for rural people. But what constitutes a better quality of life and how this may be achieved are hotly debated issues. Indeed, the concept of rural development itself begs two important sets of questions. First, what is rural? Second, what is development? Is rural essentially agricultural? If so, what role, if any, do nonfarm activities play in rural economies? Is development an outcome (e.g., more jobs) or a process (e.g., empowerment)? What aspects of human life are most important? Should development efforts be directed toward expanding economic growth or toward providing basic needs and services to improve human welfare? If poverty alleviation is the goal, how best might this be achieved? Finally, who is development for? The term rural is ambiguous and sometimes is defined as “not urban.” Rural areas usually are understood as sparsely populated areas that are dominated by fields, pastures, and forests and where people spend most of their working time on farms or in other resource extraction industries such as fishing, forestry, and mining. As such, they are distinct from more intensively settled urban and suburban areas and from unsettled wilderness or outback areas. Rural areas are highly diverse, and definitions based solely on population density can be problematic given the vast geographic differences in human settlement patterns around the world. Thus, lifestyle factors such as limited access to public services, schools, utilities, and public transport are also used to delineate rural areas. Since the 1950s, numerous theories, themes, and policy directives have influenced rural development thinking and practice. One of the most...
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