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rural–urban fringe


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The transition zone between the city and its suburbs, and the countryside. Certain types of land use are characteristic of this zone: garden centres, country parks, riding stables, golf courses, sewage works, and airports are common, and these are neither truly urban nor truly rural uses. They do, however, give an urban air to the countryside, which can be cited as an argument for further development—since the zone is not really ‘countryside’, it need not be preserved. Thus, C. Bryant et al. (1982) define the inner urban fringe as ‘land in the advanced stages of transition from rural to urban uses—land under construction, land for which subdivision plans have been approved—in short, land where there is little doubt over much of its area about its urban oriented function and ultimate conversion to urban uses’.

Irwin and Bockstaehl (2002) J. Econ. Geog. 2, 1 think that fragmented patterns of development in rural–urban fringe areas could be due to negative externalities that create a ‘repelling’ effect among residential land parcels. Lagarias (2007, Cybergeo, systèmes, modél., géostat., 391) presents a fractal analysis of urbanization at the periphery of Thessaloniki, Greece. Bunker and Houston (2003) Australian Geog. Studs 41, 3 report that the fringe is becoming increasingly complex due to multifaceted demographic change, a broadening economic base, and demands for better environmental management, ‘all within the context of an evolving understanding of sustainability’. Qviström (2007) Geografiska B 89, 3 objects to the characterization of the rural–urban fringe as a process rather than a place; questions representations informed by a dichotomous way of thinking; and hopes to ‘bring forward more nuanced accounts of fringe landscapes’.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.


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