DOI: 10.1111/gec3.12721 ISSN: 1749-8198

Geographical articulations of rurality at the rural‐urban interface

Ningning Chen
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • General Social Sciences
  • Water Science and Technology


Research on the intermediate space or interface where rural and urban boundaries become blurred has been gaining momentum within geography and other intersecting fields. In contrast to the dominant focus on the growth of urbanism at the rural‐urban interface, a growing number of studies have emerged to intervene the debate from the rural side. This paper contributes to this burgeoning scholarship by reviewing recent work on geographical articulations of rurality in the face of urbanizing forces and processes operating in intermediate spaces. I firstly explore how extant representations of rurality at the rural‐urban interface are inherent with an “idyllic” vision, a “modernist” one or a combination of both, and how the interactions among multiple rural visions produce tensions and conflicts at the interface. Then, I outline the recent conceptualizations of rurality under the relational and materialist turns, which move beyond the discursive construction of the countryside and offer new theoretical insights and analytical concepts for appreciating multiple, heterogeneous, open and inclusive articulations of rural voices at the interface. Finally, I map out directions for future research to attend to the insufficiently‐addressed temporal dimensions of the rural‐urban interface, thereby moving current discussions of relational rurality forward.

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