The article contains an overview of rural areas’ functions according to different criteria and an analysis of changes of these functions in the context of rural areas’ development. Declining role of agriculture with the growing role of other economic functions in these areas is accompanied by the growing importance of social and environmental functions. This is reflected, inter alia, in the development of settlements in rural areas, increasing ecological awareness, for the sake of landscaping and bio- diversity, and in the development of technical and social infrastructure and the activity of local communities.


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