Rural development theory and methods have evolved from a focus on agricultural development and isolated economic growth in rural regions, to a focus on the development of rural people and places in interrelated and dynamic rural–urban regions. This chapter describes the historical foundations of today’s theoretical and methodological tools and looks into the future. The chapter concludes that rural development theory and practice has a bright future based on comprehensive and integrated tools that stress the intersectoral, spatial, dynamic, and distributional interrelationships that determine the well-being of rural residents.

JEL Classifications: O10, O18, R10, R15