Integration of Rural and Urban Land Systems
Kampala, Uganda

Integration of Rural and Urban Land Systems

Short Description

More than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and the percentage is expected to continue growing in the near future. Urbanization is more than the expansion of built-up area and should be considered as a complex process that involves social and economic change. It therefore has a significant impact on human-environment interactions.

First, a growing amount of land is now being used for urban functions, including residential areas, industrial zones, infrastructure, but also urban green and recreation areas. Therefore, urban ‘land take’– the process of non-urban areas being converted to urban areas— and its consequences for other land systems, is now of increasing importance in land change assessments. Second, urban land and rural land have often been considered as mutually exclusive systems. However, due to processes such as peri-urbanization, in which rural societies adopt urban livelihoods and counter-urbanization whereby urban populations start with traditional rural practices such as urban farming, this dichotomy no longer holds for large parts of the world. Instead, there is a gradient between strictly urban and strictly rural land, with many locations falling somewhere in between. Third, increasing urbanization has significantly altered the relation between people and the land they depend on for food, fiber and other resources. The concept of urban teleconnections has highlighted such changing relations, and as a result, urbanization also affects rural areas through the resulting changes in production systems.

Goals and Objectives

The objective of this working group is to bring together scientists with a research focus on urban and/or rural land systems, in order to further integrate urbanization into land system science. Such integration will advance land system science towards a more comprehensive understanding about drivers as well as impacts of land system change.

To achieve this objective the working group as a whole will conduct a series of agenda-setting, as well as synthesis activities. The agenda-setting activities aim to highlight the relation between urban and rural land systems, including processes like peri-urbanization and counter-urbanization, and explain the importance of a comprehensive land system approach towards these systems. The synthesis activities aim to collect existing empirical evidence of these activities in order to provide a scientifically sound basis for further analysis. In addition, the goals of individual members include empirical research on urban and rural land systems and their interrelation. It is also an explicit aim of the working group to explore possibilities for joint research by submitting proposals that focus on the integration between urban and rural land systems.

GLP Themes: Telecoupling of land use systems, Urban-rural interactions


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Related Information


October 11, 2022

This series of sessions at the 2023 AAG Annual Meeting aims to bring together researchers and practitioners focused on rural-urban linkages and their implications for multi-dimensional inequalities, food systems, land-use change, human well-being, or multi-scale socio-environmental governance in the context of climate change. Deadline: 28 October

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June 1, 2022

A new article in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability reviews three broadly adopted perspectives on urban–rural relationships from an urbanization perspective. Then, we shift the conceptualization of rural–urban relationships away from ‘the urban’ to illustrate ways in which ‘rural’ processes, practices, and places drive rural–urban sustainability. 

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September 15, 2021
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 -
3:00pm to 6:00pm

Human–wildlife interactions have become a frequent phenomenon in peri-urban landscapes, making them arenas of human-wildlife interactions. There is a need to identify and implement effective governance approaches to avoid conflicts and alleviate the negative impacts of human-wildlife interactions in peri-urban landscapes. The workshop offers a platform for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to exchange and network on human-wildlife interactions in peri-urban landscapes.

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