The post-urban world. Global changes in urban-rural relations, and the futures of contryside
In 1970, Henri Lefebvre launched a hypothesis on ‘complete urbanization’. The development thereafter has in many ways confirmed Lefebvre’s hypothesis. However, given complete urbanization there can, by definition, not be anything ‘rural’ as a counterpart to the ‘complete’ urban. This circumstance is taken as the foundation for the hypothesis on a post-urban world. According to the hypothesis, former rural areas are being dissolved in two categories. The first category, the city-close (peri-urban) countryside, becomes integrated with the growing urban regions, or with Lefebvre’s words more or less “totally urbanized”. The second category, the vast rural areas (but also peripheral cities and towns) outside the positive influence of the growing city-regions, are shrinking and, with Lefebvre’s words, “given over to nature”, apart from a few areas that can respond to certain niches of urban demand. The seminar presents the contents and the origins of the post-urban hypothesis. With examples from Sweden and China, the futures for various types of countryside are discussed.
By Hans WESTLUND, Urban and Regional Studies.
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