Vision from 2050
In most countrie despite the growth in population, the countryside is almost unchanged except for improved sanitation, housing and agricolture.
As a result the traditional pattern of small settlements in the countryside has been preserved, The population of the villages and rural towns not in walking distance of inter-town transport has remained more or less static.
Development in this rural hinterland is limited to, for example:
There is much more public access to the countryside, particularly around the Connected Towns. The paths through the green corridors separating the villages of new green quarters and new green towns continue through the protected rural land around them, creating coherent cycle and footpath networks across the country.
In the past adding to the edges of towns cut off exactly the parts of the countryside which townspeople most valued, as they used them for recreational purposes and visual enjoyment. New green towns sited away from existing settlements had far less impact.
Agriculture is much more integrated into the life of ordinary people than it was fifty years ago. Local food production is the norm, much of it from gardens, vegetable plots, community farms, farmshares. and intensive hydroponic farms.
Despite the increased population, Most countries are now almost self-sufficient in food. Diets are greener and healthier, with more locally grown food. Imported food is mostly delivered by rail to local rail freight interchanges.