PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2020, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (12): 2129-2138.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2020.12.014

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A review and prospect of international studies on rural amenity

XUE Lan()   

  1. Department of Tourism, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • Received:2020-01-06 Revised:2020-07-03 Online:2020-12-28 Published:2021-02-28
  • Supported by:
    Social Science Planning Project of Shanghai(2020EGL016)


Rural amenity is a key concept in rural studies in western developed countries. However, it has drawn little attention from Chinese scholars, and very little work has been done to date in China's context. One plausible reason is that the longstanding urban-rural divide has left rural regions in China far behind the urban areas and thus lacks the quality to be considered amiable. However, with the recent development, especially under the current nationwide campaign on rural revitalization, rural areas in China has witnessed a rapid improvement of facilities and infrastructure, which has laid the foundation for examining rural amenity with Chinese characteristics. This study aimed to introduce the concept of rural amenity to the academia in China. Through a systematic literature review of existing studies on rural amenity published in international journals, the study aimed to stimulate discussions and debates on the concept from Chinese scholars. This article reviews and summarizes the definition, connotation, and characteristics of the concept adopted by international scholars. It then focuses on four major research areas on rural amenity: Rural amenity index and its impacts, rural amenity and counter-urbanization, rural amenity and rural development, and amenity migration. This article further discusses several issues related to the theoretical aspects of the concept, including comparison of urban amenity and rural amenity, comparison of rural amenity and rural gentrification, and translation of rural amenity/amenities into Chinese. Finally, this article concludes with four insights that can be drawn from understanding rural amenity in China: First, defining rural amenity in China based on traditional Chinese culture. Second, building rural attractiveness and competitiveness based on quality of place. Third, improving rural ecosystem and built environment based on the needs of a variety of dwellers. Fourth, exploring ways of co-development of rural amenity and rural industries with a focus on synergy. This article emphasizes that with continuous deepening of rural revitalization and improvement of rural ecological environment and infrastructure in China, it is of great theoretical and practical value to conduct comprehensive and in-depth research on rural amenity within the Chinese context.

Key words: rural amenity, literature review, rural vitalization