Beset with many complex problems of its own, agriculture is perhaps entitled to the view that one which does not concern rural areas is metropolitan development and government. But the theme of this article is that metropolitan problems do concern agriculture. Urbanization, and in particular the massive movement of population into suburban communities and the open country beyond, do force many adjustments on rural communities. How rural people respond will not only govern the survival of agriculture in large areas of the Nation, but also will shape the urban landscape for generations to come. Nearly every large metropolis in recent years has undertaken studies of its growth trends and future prospects. They have tried to anticipate requirements for streets, schools, parks, water, sewers, and other public facilities. Economists, sociologists, and students of government have contributed studies, but with very few exceptions they take the viewpoint of the central city or the urban portions of the metropolitan area, and focus on policy issues in the city and the suburb. Students have largely ignored the effect of urban expansion on surrounding rural areas and policy questions that face these communities. This article considers some of the ways in which, urbanization bears on agriculture and rural communities, and attempts to identify policy choices open to local government in or near metropolitan areas. By implication, the author raises some questions on which research is needed to enable rural communities to make decisions that will serve their own interest and that of the growing urban centers.


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