Museum Piece or a Vibrant Rural Life? CLA View
Byline: PADDY ROONEY
THE ancient Silk Road city of Khiva is wonderful to visit.
Encircled by tower-studded walls, with a superb entrance gateway opening on to a fine boulevard, with intricately-decorated madrass-ahs, mosques and a splendid palace, it is a magnificent sight.
But take away the visitors and it is dead. There are few houses, no workshops or bazaars, just stalls selling tourist goods. Little trace is left of the vibrant community which once thrived there.
Perhaps there may be a lesson in this for our rural policy. If we want sustainable communities we need a favourable planning philosophy. A negative approach, treating planning as simply a matter of preventing change, would be disastrous.
Sustainability rests on three pillars - environmental, social and economic - and while nobody could decry the environmental or the social aspects, without a sound economic foundation the edifice will collapse.
Policies for rural sustainability must, therefore, have economic development as their focus.
This does not mean that other considerations should be discounted. …