June 13 , 2013
Lecture 10: The Changing Countryside
Practice critical assessment! –There‟s going to be a critical appraisal on an article on the
• Section 1: Critical Thinking Exercise ( /10)
– Draw on course material, critical thinking skills
• Section 2: Short Answer ( /15)
– Choose 3 of 5
– Could be drawn from any part of the course
• Section 3: Long Answer / short essay ( /15)
– Broad question
– need to draw on course from all the material!
Don‟t be afraid to ask for clarifications. Read the article about corn and junk food.
• Some chapters have sample test questions (worth going over!)
• Not just lecture, or just text…
• Examples from guest speakers, film, assignments
• Key points, and evidence
What is rural?
“Areas which are dominated by extensive land uses such as agriculture or
forestry, or by large open spaces of underdeveloped land; which contain small, lower
order settlements demonstrating a strong relationship between buildings and extensive
landscape, and which are perceived as rural by most residents.” -(Cloke, 2000: 718,
quoted in text, emphasis added)
Rural geographers see rural in many ways, as a state of mind. There is no perfect
definition, because we‟re basing this idea of rural based on different configurations and
functions that have changed over time. It‟s a relative, diverse term and it‟s a contested
term. There is a blurring of the rural and urban. The key emphasis of the chapter is the
integration of the two rurals.
• The functionalist approach
– The rural is defined by distinct properties and functions
– The things that are happening there. For example, rural is measured by
demographics (who lives there), population density, and also land use.
This approach tends to assume as a dichotomy between rural and urban. If
something is rural, it‟s typically not urban. It‟s generally one or the other.
• The critical political economy approach
– Rural areas are shaped by dynamics of the national and international
– Urbanization or globalization. The causes of urbanization, and the idea of
rural as a distinctive category.
• The social representation approach
– The rural is constituted by the discourses of various social groups – The rural is defined by how we imagine the countryside and use it. There‟s
tourist versions of this vs. academics (administrators, planners) all have
different perspectives on how to deal with tourism, and economy.
Role of Agriculture in (Rural) Economies
“Agriculture remains a cornerstone of the Canadian economy. As such, it is a $50
billion (CA) a year industry that directly and indirectly employs 14 percent of the
country's work force and contributes approximately one-third of the nation's trade
surplus. Yet, only 5 percent (prairies, the southern border) of Canada's land base has the
capacity to sustain agricultural food crops and virtually all of this is currently being used,
leaving little room for future expansion of food production.” IDRC, 2008
In Canada, land is designated as class 1- prime land, best soil, class 2 and class 3.
Half of Canada‟s urban centers were based on some of Canada‟s top agricultural land.
Some of the best agricultural land is underneath buildings, under roads. This is a non-
renewable piece of land. When we pave over it, it‟s virtually impossible to use it again,
because of the chemicals that are used. In 2001, 11 percent of Ontario‟s Class 1
agricultural land was occupied by urban land. We fail to think about that urbanization of
agricultural land affects the crops. There are places where only certain features exist,
which yield special crops- grapes grown only in Niagara can‟t just be moved someplace
“Modernization” and the Changing Countryside (The forces cutting across north/south
boundaries that affect urban and rural communities).
• Urbanization as the economic base shifts away from farming to rural-to-urban
• Suburbanization and car-oriented development in the urban fringe leads to
• Counter-urbanization occurs in as retirees, telecommuters, cottagers, etc. move
to rural areas (major impact on how rural communities are developed)
Suburbs are typically low-density, automobile oriented. The development of the car was
closely connected to the ability of suburbs to be created. Suburbs have been criticized for
blandness, lack of community, etc. There‟s just an amalgamation of small communities.
Direct impacts of urban encroachment (drawbacks)
• Loss of arable land („foodland‟). As we love farmland, we have a reduction
around the resource base for production.
• Inflated sale value of farmland. Here we see the farm owners have a range of
investment opportunities outside of food produc