The Urban-Rural Continuum and Connections

View this keynote presentation from the National Urban Extension Conference held in Seattle, Washington.


Are these images urban or rural? Did you have difficulties deciding?

  • Are cities devoid of open space and wildlife?
  • Do all people in the countryside hunt, farm, fish, and shoot?
  • Is everyone living in towns and cities stressed and worried about crime?
  • Can farming happen in the city?
  • Is all rural land dedicated to agriculture or forests?
  • Is all industry in the city?

It's increasingly difficult to distinguish between rural and urban, the transition is often gradual or hidden.

  • Definitions of urban and rural
  • Physical: population, density, land use
  • Legal: government boundaries
  • Functional: economic flows and interactions
  • Cultural: ethnicity, diversity, degree of urbanity
  • Environmental: impervious surface, industrial pollution, urban heat island
  • Belief: subjective judgment (of individual or others)

There is no absolute or right definition—depends on your question and the purpose!

View this keynote presentation by Elena Irwin, Professor, Dept of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics, Faculty Director, Sustainability Institute, Ohio State University and Brian Cultice,
PhD Student, Dept of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics

Attached document published May 2019


739 views • posted 10/26/2023