Rural development can be defined as the process to improve the quality of life and the economic stability of the people living in rural areas, especially those living in remote areas, away from major cities, and where the population is scarce. Because they are so far away from civilization, modern innovations rarely reach them, and there are places where people still live like hundreds of years ago without modern tools to farm, or without easy access to drinking water. The importance of rural development should be obvious, especially in a world more concerned about sustainable development; so far, the rural side was mainly focused on agriculture and forestry, meaning the production of some of the most essential resources.
The planet’s population is growing more and more, which is why we are going to need more resources, especially food and building materials, but fuels as well. Thus, agriculture has and will always have to be a major interest, only from now on it has to be done in such a way that it meets human needs without depleting resources for future generations. The modernization of the world, the expansion of urban areas and the spread of touristic attractions and niche manufacturing have switched the focus of rural development however, and now we have to focus on more than agriculture. It can be said that the planet’s future rests on rural development.
Thus, when we’re talking about rural development today, we also refer to innovations and improvements in education, physical and social infrastructure, entrepreneurship and other aspects which widen and enrich rural life. It is difficult however to define or describe rural development in one sentence, because unlike urban areas, which are now mostly similar and globalized, rural areas differ from each other essentially, even in the same country. Therefore, the methods or approaches one might encounter are numerous and variate.
It is very important to help rural development from social and economic points of view; for example, better farming tools and methods in agriculture could help peasants plant more crops and produce more, thus being able to live better and even to send their children more often to school. Education is another major concern in rural areas, because people are so poor they cannot afford to hire help for farming activities, so they use the children, placing only a secondary importance on their schooling. While the identity of the rural area should not disappear, bringing it closer to the 21st century is necessary; the rural and the urban have always cohabited, have always helped each other, and both forms of living are important for our general development, which is why they always have to borrow from each other.
While urban people have to learn to live more greenly and environmentally-friendly, rural people need to learn about new tools and technologies, and other concepts which make urban society freer.