Table of Contents

Amenities and Rural Development

Amenities and Rural Development

Theory, Methods and Public Policy

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Edited by Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David D. Marcouiller

Amenities and Rural Development explores the paradigmatic shift in how we view land resources and the potential for development in amenity-rich rural regions. Amenity-based growth can lead to several paths, based largely on proximity to urban areas and the type of development that occurs, whether it be seasonal residents, retirees, or tourism. The distributional implications of amenity-led development are an important consideration for policy, both within and between communities and regions. The contributors conclude that public policy needs to focus on maximizing complementary and supplementary uses while minimizing antagonistic uses of amenities.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David W. Marcouiller

Subjects: environment, environmental sociology, urban and regional studies, regional studies


Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David W. Marcouiller Our images of rural areas are still dominated by pastures, working forests being actively harvested and mountainous landscapes dotted with mines. For much of the past century, rural communities have struggled with population and employment loss, high rates of poverty and a paucity of financial resources to provide basic services to residents. Improvements in technology, transportation and communication systems promised to improve the quality of life for rural residents, but the primary beneficiaries have been communities on the urban fringe. Technological change has reduced demand for workers and producers, especially in forest products and agricultural commodities. Not all rural communities are facing these pressures, however. Many communities are experiencing high rates of population, income and employment growth. Most of these communities are heavily endowed with natural amenities. Rather than extracting natural resources for external markets, these communities have begun to build economies based on promoting environmental quality. This shift in rural economies from extraction of natural resources to promotion of natural and cultural amenities is apparent throughout Europe and North America. Amenities can be broadly defined as qualities of a region that make it an attractive place to live and work (Power 1988, p. 142). In many cases, amenities are immobile, nonsubstitutable and provide direct and/or indirect benefits to people. Examples include such things natural or wildlife areas and parks, but they would also include historic buildings and sites and cultural settlements (such as Amish communities). Amenities,...