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 18: Rural Policy Issues

Joan M. Brehm

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


Joan M. Brehm Several fundamental issues underlie the papers in this book: 1. 2. 3. 4. How do we identify or define a natural amenity? At what scale is a value afforded to that amenity? What level of policy is most effective in the protection or management of that natural amenity? Who bears the cost/burden of natural amenity protection? IDENTIFYING OR DEFINING A NATURAL AMENITY Before any discussion of policy is undertaken it is critical to be clear in our understanding of how we identify or define a natural amenity. In light of this, several issues deserve consideration. First, a basic recognition of the role that culture plays in our relationships to natural amenities and the formation of values that we place on them are essential. Several of the chapters demonstrated this very well but it is something that needs further attention. For example, a recent paper indicated that there were statistically significant differences between Mormon and non-Mormon populations on a variety of measures of local environmental concern. The paper shows that the Mormon faith and its embedded cultural components were meaningful predictors of comparably low levels of local environmental concern within the region studied (Brehm and Eisenhauer 2004). Variations in concern over the local context may also reflect underlying variations in how individuals define or identify natural amenities. The significance of this in relation to policy is the need to account for regional variations in culture and associated disparities in...

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