1. "Country living" is residing on the land and making a living from the land. The countryside that makes this living possible is a unique environment, distinguished from wilderness, the city, suburbia, and rural residential estates.
2. Though the American countryside is a middle landscape, it is not simply or inevitably a transitional environment in the historical evolution of America from wilderness to the city. It was designed by our ancestors as a permanent state. It could be permanent, but only if--today--conservation of the countryside is made the highest goal and highest priority of rural development.
Recommendation. Governmental rural development programs must be changed to make preservation of the values of country living and the countryside their major goal, rather than job creation, rural industrial development, and relief of poverty in rural areas.
3. The countryside is an integrated fabric of life, fusing nature, agriculture, other country livelihoods, and country residence within the values of country living.
Recommendation. To conserve the whole fabric of the country, conservation must be accomplished within the context of comprehensive planning for land-use stability, using the tools of district-wide zoning, minimum acreages, and permitting.
Pro. Without comprehensive planning of the countryside as a geographical district, incremental urban sprawl will convert the countryside, parcel by parcel, until so little of the countryside remains that all opportunities for its conservation are lost.
Con. The planning process, zoning land use, and permitting will restrict the freedom of land use and dilute the rights of property ownership that have been central to country living. The planning process might also hand the tools of government to the advocates of urban sprawl should they come to dominate planning commissions and departments.
4. Education for country living is the most important means, after the family, of passing the values of country life from one generation to another.
Recommendation. Country schools, k-12, must be maintained. The consolidation of country schools and busing of students to town schools must be stopped.
Recommendation. Community and technical colleges should develop vocational curricula for farming, including small farming, country vocations, and country crafts and skills.
5. Developing new consumers of products of country living and the countryside is and has been central to creating economic incentives and political support for preservation of the countryside.
Recommendation. Marketing country living and the countryside must be more highly developed and effective than it has been in the past.
Once country living is gone and the countryside is destroyed, they cannot be recovered. Conservation of country life should be as high a national priority as wilderness protection and historic preservation in towns and cities.
A Theory of Rural Life
1. What is Country Living?
2. Social-Economic Classes.
3. Conditions for Successful Production.
4 pt. 1. Land-Use Stability.
4 pt. 2. Landscape Preservation.
5. Country Living Values.
6. What Are Values?
7. A Home Place.
8. Education and Identity.
9. Marketing the Countryside.
10. Conclusions and Recommendations.