Cultural Geography Workgroup

Rural areas in the vicinity of large cities

Exurbanization and the restructuring of rural areas in the vicinity of large cities

Prof. Florian Dünckmann


Rural areas in the vicinity of large cities are subjects of a fundamental transformation. The average commuting distances are still rising and rural areas are among those with the highest rates of population growth. These processes that are taking place in the contact zone between the urban and the rural areas are often conceptualized in terms of a spilling over of the city into a more or less featureless countryside. However, if we instead understand exurbanization as a transformation process that affects different rural areas in quite different ways we are confronted with new research questions.

New population groups pose new demands on the amenity of villages and bring new concepts of rurality. The countryside as an agricultural production site is increasingly in crisis while the consumption function is gaining importance.

  • Which new constellations of actors and interests are emerging?
  • How does the former hegemony of farmers in the village change?
  • What are the effects of these socio-political changes on the future development paths of rural communes?