The rural-urban fringe is becoming a focus for planners and policy makers, who have suddenly turned their attention to this hitherto neglected landscape. The green belt – the jewel in the crown of UK planning policy since World War II – may soon be subject to review; housing pressures, particularly in the south of England, are leading many to question the logic of ‘protecting’ land that often appears derelict and in need of improvement. But others continue to argue that the green belt, and the fringe more generally, needs some form of protection, not because of any intrinsic value, but because building at the edge is likely to stall any hope of an urban renaissance in the inner cities. But a new debate concerning the fringe is also taking root, based on the assertion that planning at the edge – including green belt policy – has never been for the edge. Rather the fringe has been subject to a deliberate policy of neglect: this policy has sought to create a buffer between town and country with developmental objectives on the urban side of that buffer and environmental ones within the countryside beyond. But it has never sought or aspired to do anything inside the fringe. Today, there is growing consensus that the fringe is an area of untapped potential and opportunity, where unruly dynamism might be harnessed and a multifunctional landscape created that achieves a range of economic, social and environmental goals. But this is not our concern in this chapter.