Why rural sustainability in the urban century?
Since 2007, more than half the world’s population has lived in cities and towns. Once concentrated in the developed world, new urban dwellers are now overwhelmingly located in developing and emerging economies. The scale and pace of urbanization raises numerous questions for inclusive and sustainable development – questions as relevant to rural communities and spaces as they are to cities themselves. Indeed, given rural communities continue to lag well behind their urban counterparts in relation to water and food security, access to modern energy and sanitation, access to medical and human services, and so on, perhaps these questions are even more relevant in the rural domain.
The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development identifies the establishment of positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas as a key strategy to redress rural disadvantage.
This raises numerous questions about how urban and rural spaces are connected through flows of people, capital, information, commodities, etc.; about the distribution of authority and whose version of sustainability counts; and about the relationships between spatial disadvantage and injustices based on ethnic, linguistic, religious and other dimensions of social difference.
Delegates to the 2022 World Congress of Rural Sociology will discuss these and many other questions relevant to the field of rural sociology.