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 11: Recreation, Amenity Migration and Urban Proximity

Kenneth M. Johnson and Susan I. Stewart

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


Kenneth M. Johnson and Susan I. Stewart Recent migration trends fueled in part by the nation’s love of forests, lakes and other natural resources are transforming the rural landscape. The US population is deconcentrating. Such deconcentration is reflected both in the tendency of the population to sprawl outward from large, denselysettled urban cores, and in the recent rapid population gains in many nonmetropolitan areas. Growth has been particularly rapid in areas endowed with amenity resources – natural resources that are valued for their recreational and esthetic qualities. Amenity resources have been recognized for their influence on migration patterns for some time (Marans and Wellman 1978). Nonmetropolitan recreation and amenity counties spread across the country have consistently produced significantly higher rates of inmigration than other counties (Beale and Johnson 1998; Johnson and Beale 2002; McGranahan 1999). The individual decisions and behaviors behind migration to recreation and amenity counties, termed amenity migration, are not yet well understood. Preliminary research suggests that the propensity to migrate is much higher among those who have vacationed and owned second homes in an area. Once visitors discover an appealing area, some follow a progression of decisions; first making return visits, then using or owning a second home in the area, and finally migrating to establish their primary residence there (Stewart 1994). Prior research found that 30 percent of second-home owners surveyed in northern lower Michigan were likely or very likely to retire to their second home within ten years (Stynes et al. 1997). Secondhome...

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