The increasing global emphasis on the cities must not obscure the importance of rural areas and their links to cities. This is the argument in a valuable thoughtpiece by Christine Platt, Past President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners in reflecting on the preparations for the Habitat III summit in Quito in October 2016.
Reflecting views advanced by the African Union she says that the focus in Quito should be an “urbanisation agenda” rather than an “urban agenda”. The migrations to the cities are just one factor impacting on rural areas. Mrs Platt points to ways in which th urban footprint is reducing food producng areas. She emphasises the need to recognise the interdependencies between urban and rural, e.g. through catchment planning to conserve water resources in the face of escalating urban water demands.
Highlighting the significance of agricultural change she notes that farming is undergoing sharp rationalisations in many countries. For example, the number of dairy farms in New Zealand is expected to fall by 40% in the next 15 years. Mrs Platt calls for integration of the cities with their hinterlands through national and regional development planning.