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 8: The Role of Wilderness and Public Land Amenities in Explaining Migration and Rural Development in the American Northwest

Christy Dearien, Gundars Rudzitis and John Hintz

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


Christy Dearien, Gundars Rudzitis and John Hintz INTRODUCTION Neoclassical migration models were based traditionally on the assumption that people moved for economic reasons such as employment or increased income. In a classic article Sjaasted (1962) set the decision to move within a cost–benefit framework where individuals evaluated the relative tradeoffs as the basis to move or stay. He was aware of noneconomic, or what he called psychic costs. These costs included attachments people had to the places where they were currently living. However, because measuring psychic costs would be very difficult we should ‘ignore psychic costs of migration since they involve no resource cost; likewise we should ignore non-money returns arising from locational preferences.’ The noneconomic facets of people’s lives in the decision to move were not part of the cost-benefit calculus. Economic motivations and income maximization drove migration trends. Places were important in the sense that they attract or repel people to produce resources for the larger economy. No attempt was made to understand why people live in places. The role of the physical environment and its major component, land, was dismissed, as was the social and cultural environment. This limited view of migration was soon to change as the role of nature and its environmental components, especially climate, became the means of incorporating a physical environment variable into statistical models. Perhaps the earliest statement of the importance of amenities in regional growth was a 1954 article by geographer Ullman. Studies in the 1960s...

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