Rural-urban relationships – and analysis of current trends and potential policy responses for the North-West of England

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper presents the aims and objectives of a PhD-project that started in September 2003 at the Department of Civic Design, University of Liverpool. The project aims at analysing relationships between rural and urban areas in the North-West of England and developing potential policy responses. A traditional role of the rural hinterland of cities was to serve as the place of agricultural production. Yet the importance of agriculture in the rural economy is diminishing. Instead many rural residents use the countryside mainly for housing and commute to work in the urban areas. So many rural districts show a significant population growth. At the same time the importance of small-scale service sector industries is growing. These are less dependent on central locations, so rural areas may become more attractive as a location for such firms. Another form of urban-rural relationship is the use of the countryside by people from urban areas as a tourist destination. The tourist industry has become a significant factor of the rural economy. Yet this is not merely a one-way relationship. Rural residents use the infrastructure of urban cores, such as museums, cinemas or shopping facilities.One could argue that due to these new forms of relationship described above traditional clear-cut differences between urban and rural areas become increasingly blurred. The built environment may still have a different character in city and countryside. Yet it may be more and more difficult to identify a specific urban or rural culture related to these locations. Is it still the physical form or a different settlement pattern that defines city, region and countryside? Or is a city respectively a region defined by the “action space” of people living in a certain area covering both urban and rural space? Can rural spaces becoming increasingly independent from urban cores due to the location of new manufacturing and service sector industries, thus creating quasi-urban environments?These are some of the questions, the project aims to answer for the North-West of England. Many rural policies see rural areas as one homogeneous entity with similar characteristics. Yet rural areas show an enormous internal diversity both in terms of socio-economic characteristics and degree respectively form of relationship to urban areas. First results of a policy analysis and maps illustrating the diversity of the rural North-West of England will be presented on the PhD-workshop, which will hopefully lead to an inspiring discussion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationhost publication
Publication statusPublished - 2004
EventAESOP PhD Workshop - Aix-en-Provence
Duration: 1 Jan 1824 → …


ConferenceAESOP PhD Workshop
Period1/01/24 → …


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