chapter  8
38 Pages

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Dafydd Ap Gwilym (1340-1370) 8.1 CONFLICT AND CHANGE The analysis of social resources in rural areas in Chapter 5 established settlements as a secondary resource on which the primary resource of population depends and to which access to the tertiary resources of life-style requirements is allocated. The rural built environment may thus be viewed as a kind of fulcrum for a resource perspective of human elements in the countryside. Although it is people which are the most important commodity therein, the conflicts and incompatabilities between different types of rural resources often revolve around the role of settlements in the rural environment. Chapter 5 also suggested that rural settlements have historically been subject to the ebb and flow of growth and decline (eg. the desertion of medieval villages - see FIGURE 5.1). The spectre of settle­ ment decline in 14th century Wales suggested in the quote above has often been repeated in subsequent times and it is important that this historical con­ text be stressed in any analysis of resource con­ flicts connected with the built environment in rural areas. Darley^ argues that it is only recently that society

has become sufficiently conceited to discard the ageold lessons of scale, organic proportion and eschewing fashionable whims when dealing with rural settlements. She maintains that

Despite the great upheavals of history - medieval plague, the Enclosures and the Agricultural Revolution in particular - the recuperative powers of rural communities have always been extraordinary. In answer to prevailing conditions, settiements achieved balance, in structure, function and pattern.2