A recent issue of EuroChoices (7:1) was devoted to a discussion of comparative US-EU rural development policies. This article discusses the concept of growth coalitions, well developed in urban literature but less so in rural literature. Some light is shed on the different positions of rural and environmental issues in EU and US policies. The agricultural lobby is the dominant actor in agricultural growth coalitions because it perceives land in terms of its exchange value. Environmental and rural development actors perceive land in terms of its use value and its contributions to quality of life: they form a rural development coalition, seeing the need to balance growth with quality of life, but they have less political power than the agricultural growth coalition. In the European context, rural and environmental agendas are linked to a multi-functional agricultural agenda allowing common ground between these two coalitions and greater visibility in the policy arena. In the US, rural interests and environmental groups are more often in opposition to agriculture. This reduces their political visibility and clout. The challenge is how to link the power of the agricultural growth coalitions with rural development coalitions to achieve a broader balance of concerns and a more effective rural development policy.
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|