FIG Commission 8 - Spatial planning and development

Working Group 8.1
Rural – urban dependency


Rural and urban (including peri-urban) areas are important for development, because all over the world they provide space for people to live. They face similar development challenges, although differences exist as well, and therefore have common needs in terms of development (Figure).

Figure: Challenges and common needs of rural and urban areas

Both rural and urban areas co-exist for mutual benefits because rural resources are needed in urban areas and urban resources are needed in rural areas. There has been a big focus on urban development – especially concerning the development of sustainable, green and smart cities – with less attention paid to rural development. While the focus on urbanisation is understandable, spatial planning (and development) demands a balance (and continuum) between rural and urban development. From this perspective, rural areas deserve similar attention for them to become more liveable places. With appropriate spatial planning (and development) concepts and approaches, rural and urban areas can become socially and technologically smart spatial units. However, this is only possible if they are investigated from a continuum lens – with focus on their socio-spatial interdependencies and interrelationships.

Policy Issues

  • Investigate rural – urban relations and dependencies that affect sustainable spatial development.
  • Identify key developments in rural areas, such as depopulation, rural land market or food security, to be addressed in a SMART way.
  • Investigate approaches to urban and rural development and recommend or innovate approaches that are responsive to the urban-rural continuum of development.


Rosy Liao Rong, People’s Republic of China

Dr.-Ing. Michael Klaus, Germany

Mr. Eugene Chigbu, Germany


What we are working on -

  • Identify factors and delineate solutions for SMART rural development to minimize the gap between urban and rural areas.
  • Working paper on SMART rural areas (in collaboration with GLTN).

What's New

Focus: Rural-urban relations and their dependencies to foster smart and sustainable spatial developments in the urban-rural continuum.