Analysing the ongoing changes and dynamics in rural development from a functional perspective through a series of case studies from the global north and south, this volume deepens our understanding of the importance of new functional and multifunctional approaches in policy, practice and theory. In rural areas of industrialized societies, food production as a basis for growth and employment has been declining for many decades. In the Global South, on the other hand, food production is still often the most important factor for socio-economic development. However, rural areas both in the industrialized north and in the global south are facing new challenges which lead to significant changes and threats to their development. New forms of food production, but also new functional (e.g. housing or business parks) and often multifunctional approaches are being discussed and practiced yet it remains unclear the extent to which these result in better or more sustainable development of rural areas.