The City's Hinterland

Article excerpt

The City's Hinterland Edited by Keith Hoggart Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005 175pp, 16 x 24 cm Hb: £45.00, ISBN 0 7546 4344 1

The influence of towns and cities on rural areas of Europe has been long debated. Indeed there remain few rural parts of the continent that today can truly be said to be devoid of urban influence. And yet, as Keith Hoggart points out in his introduction to this volume, the precise effects of cities on their hinterlands has received insufficient attention from academics and policy makers alike. Taking as its starting point the European Commission's (1999) European Spatial Development Perspective (ESPD) which aims to pursue compact city development forms, the reconstruction of derelict areas, an integrated environmental approach, and a location of land-uses that will lead to a reduction of car usage, the book aims to examine how the quality of life of citizens in the hinterland zones of cities in four European countries (Germany, Spain, France and England) are influenced by the physical expansion of urban centres, changes in social and functional heterogeneity improvements in transport accessibility and the conservation and development of natural and cultural heritage.

Following a useful overview of the diversity of the rural hinterlands of Europe's cities by Briquel and Collicard, the subsequent chapters explore four contrasting case studies: Kraemer notes that the periurban area of Munich acts in many ways as a mirror of the conurbation, and emphasises that the lack of an integrated view of the city region by local actors has been particularly damaging; Bertrand and George-Marcelpoil examine Annecy and Valence in the Sillon Alpin in France, and note the tensions facing local government officials in rural areas that realise their dependence on urban cores and yet still want to retain aspects of their identity; Entrena considers the very different Andalusian examples of Granada and El Ejido, highlighting in particular the transformations that have occurred in the agricultural structure of their hinterlands; and Henderson notes the strains that Norwich places on its surrounding commuter villages in England. …