Sustainable development and the rural-urban fringe : a review of the literature
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Beesley, Kenneth B.
Sustainable development is a concept which has captured the imagination of scholars, practitioners, and politicians at all geographical scales. While Dykeman (1990a, p. 3) suggests that the sustainable development concept consists of "older, established ideas that are wrapped in new terminology," he does not suggest in even the slightest way that the concept should be withdrawn or ignored. Rather, Dykeman (1990b) used the concept as a central focus for an important international conference and a major publication. Recognition must be given to the fact that the sustainable development concept does offer fundamental contributions to an important framework, a framework which is still developing. The essence of this paper is to examine the linkage and contradictions within and between the terms sustainable development and the rural-urban fringe. The literature reviewed is necessarily wide- ranging, however I will admit a personal bias towards perspectives from geography, environmental studies and agriculture. To present this review, a preliminary task is to set the context through a brief discussion of the principal terms, i.e. sustainable development and rural-urban fringe. The key document on sustainable development remains the report Our Common Future prepared by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) (1987), which must surely rate as one of the most cited documents of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Discussion of the rural-urban fringe will draw substantially on recent reviews and research documents (Beesley, 1991 a, b, 1993; Beesley and Bowles, 1993; Beesley and Macintosh, 1993; Bowles and Beesley, 1991; Macintosh and Beesley, 1993).