In Dutch rural planning, constraints concerning the accessibility and other physical characteristics of an area are no longer a major problem. More important is the policy-making process at higher levels of society and processes of economic and social restructuring, over which local people do not have adequate control. This threatens their strong sense of commitment to their direct physical and social environment. As a consequence, sustainable rural landscape development is not primarily a technical problem, or a problem of design and reconstruction of the area, but a problem of communication and participation. Development projects need a social basis and should include measures to promote the production of quality landscapes by the local population. This cannot be achieved in a strategy to reach sustainable landscape development without taking account of the individual need of people to maintain their commitment to the landscape, and without adjustment of the unbalanced distribution of human resources for future control over the area. Important steps in this strategy would be an early exchange of information about the planning process, and the establishment of intermediary bodies to narrow the gap between the level of policy making and the everyday experiences of local people.
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