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Public Service Research Program

Photo: Magnificent valley oaks formerly dominated the landscape

Magnificent valley oaks formerly dominated the landscape

The Rural-Urban Interface in One Community

Throughout the Central Valley, agricultural and range lands are becoming increasingly suburbanized. Southern Sacramento County provides a setting for considering and addressing issues about urban and rural/agricultural environments as they relate to each other under the pressure of urban population growth. This project focuses on Elk Grove which is the fastest growing community in the United States. Not only is the rural character of the area under siege, but the region is home to vernal pool habitat and endangered species.

The purposeful incorporation of rural lifestyles and landscapes into a predominately urban refuge, a city, produces certain policy and governance challenges. The needs and values of urban dwellers are assumed to be different than those of rural dwellers, and therefore policies intended for urban living and development are seen as inappropriate for use in a rural area. Yet, there are no models for how to enact rural preservation within city limits. Due to this uncertainty, two community groups in hopes of fostering closer collaboration with the city, sought university assistance to seek fair and impartial data concerning the values and desires of the rural residents.

Project Challenge/Research Question: How do people live in their rural space and what do they expect and wish from the city, now and in the future?

Liaison: Colleen Hiner, Community Development, Masters program. She is applying skills learned from her Peace Corps assignment in Tanzania.

Site: Elk Grove, Sacramento County

Partners: Sheldon Community Association, Upper Laguna Creek Collaborative, City of Elk Grove, and others

Associated Projects/Research: Colleen's Master's thesis has developed out of a community development internship with Bill Meyers (Community Development Adjunct faculty and Elk Grove Resident) and addresses the identity, values and development goals of rural Elk Grove residents.

Project Time Line: 2005 - 2007

Funding: UC Davis