The task the author has set for himself in this book is to take a small section of the United States -- ordinarily called the New England region -- and to analyze its rural economy in a way that will serve as a guide to its future. The subtitle indicates that this is a regional study. The author hopes that doing this study for New England will help greatly in the making of other regional studies. This study is therefore in effect a case study in regional analysis. The author has a more immediate interest in the future of New England than in that of any other region, since he has spent the last twenty-odd years of his life within it, but he has no more concern over it. He wants to help other regions as much as he wants to help New England. But others will need to assume the actual detailed task of analysis of the other regions. They will need to study them much as the author has been studying his since 1929.
It should be explained at once that this is not the usual kind of regional study. It does not fit into the conventional pattern of a regional planning study. First of all, it does not attempt to analyze all phases of the civilization of New England and bring them all into one focus, as regional planning studies commonly seek to do but rarely if ever succeed in doing. This study instead deals only with the rural economy of its region, and rural economy is taken in the main to be rural land-use economy. Because of their wide scope, most regional studies are necessarily very general and largely descriptive. They do not answer the important questions as to why the economic activities of the region are as they are, nor indicate clearly the trends and reasons for them, nor project the future and suggest how to meet it. This undertaking is sufficiently limited in its scope so that much real analysis along these lines is possible.
In the second place, the approach in this book is from the standpoint of