Do you like the life in the countryside? Good news for you

This post is also available in: Spanish

A recent article published by the European Environment Agency [1], based on studies about the current status, trends and prospects of the environment, unveils some amazing figures, at least for me.

“Between now and 2050, using the UN’s median variant, the world’s population is expected to rise by about 2.7 billion people, of whom 2.3 billion are projected to live in developing world urban areas, mostly Africa and Asia […]”

I.e., the 7 billion people living today on Earth will rise up to 9,7 billion in 2050 according to some prospects, and this relevant growth of population will be mainly absorbed by cities, which urban areas will extend more and more.

This means that many of the consequences of global population´s growth may have limited effects on the rural areas of the planet. In fact, the rural population in certain areas of Europe or North America, may even decrease:

Figure 1: Urban and rural population in developed and less developed world regions, 1950-2050 [8]. Source: UN World urbanization prospects: The 2012 revision
Although rural depopulation in Europe is happening since some decades now -in Aragon we know this well-, it is surprising that this trend continues in further years, taking into account some important aspects such as:

  • the way of life in the countryside, the benefits for the health, the contact with the nature, etcetera;
  • at the same time but in inverse proportion, the life conditions in the cities: unhealthy habits, limited access to natural food, air pollution, wrong interpretation of urban planning and the scale economy developed in many cities, and so on.

But besides the mentioned points, emerges the fact that the technological advances may be a facilitating instrument to solve the great disadvantages faced by the rural areas: access to work, higher and vocational education, communication infrastructures and health services.

The prospects show a beautiful scenario in which the villages and towns keep the benefits of the natural environment, while the mentioned development factors are improved: work, education, infrastructures and health services.

In this context, it is surprising that, despite all, people continue going to the cities.

[1] EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENT AGENCY. 18 Feb 2015. Towards a more urban world (GMT 2) Consulted 25 Ago 2015. Copiado en Aragon Valley en