LOCATED BETWEEN DENSE URBAN CITIES AND RURAL HINTERLANDS LIES A UNIQUE SPATIAL TYPOLOGY: PERI-RURAL AREAS.
THIS UNIQUE, MULTI-DIMENSIONAL ZONE LINKS URBAN-RURAL SPACES SUCH AS ECOLOGIES, ECONOMIES AND PEOPLE - TOGETHER.
Peri-Urban Areas (PUAs) and Peri-Rural Areas (PRAs) are the transitional area between urban and rural landscapes; they exist at the intersection of rural and urban zones, often where infrastructure such as agriculture, shopping, roads and economic centers exist, just beyond the existing urban areas and the beginning of the rural area. Development of these areas often involves the conversion of rural lands to residential and commercial use with a changing mix of activities and functions. Overall, the land cover that was once a vegetative quality changes to decreasing levels of vegetative intensity with more impermeable surfaces such as rooftops and paving.
Continued urban expansion creates a complex set of consequences and planning challenges. PUAs are spaces with a high potential and importance for both urban and rural residents of Nova Scotia and Canada and offer important clues to sustainable development opportunities.
There is an acute need to understand the future of peri-rural regions and their landscapes - particularly their greenspaces and green structures - which provide a diversity of important ecosystem services to both nature and humans.
But peri-urban and peri-rural landscapes are much more than just spaces between cities and the rural hinterlands. Their green spaces are multifunctional and provide crucial ecosystem functions such as agricultural production, clean air and water, carbon sequestration, and recreational & cultural benefits among many others. These greenspaces play an important role as the physical link between urban and more remote rural areas. For cities to be liveable and sustainable into the future there is a need to maintain their natural resource base and ecosystem services in these areas surrounding cities.
Rural Urbanism is a planning strategy which places the natural and agricultural landscape as the defining factors to spatially locate future land use needs and urban requirements - it places the existing landscape’s resiliency and socio-ecological services first, contextually directing the placement of future homes, shopping, transportation, and other urban infrastructure.
30 Minute Movie : The Shubenacadie River Valley 2050
Urbanization trends clearly indicate the Shubenacadie Valley will face significant pressures for landscape change in the next 30 years. Not only will increased population bring new infrastructure requirements including homes and shopping, but continued agricultural and farming is needed - all while maintaining the unique rural scenery and culture of the region.
Dynamic planning strategies which are adaptable and responsive to climate impacts, urban expansion, and landscape transition are necessary to meet these demands. The existing Shubenacadie Valley patterns of urban development and spatial organization are not sustainable and do not adequately address climate-driven concerns such as flooding, strategic conservation, and loss of biodiversity. The future agro-ecological landscape of the Shubenacadie Valley will be defined through the context-specific design and organization of new and existing elements and land uses. This rendering exhibits a possible growth strategy which prioritises rural prosperity, inclusivity, and stability alongside sustainability and livability.