The RICS has asked the rural arm of developer Urban Catalyst to draw up a report into providing more affordable housing in the countryside.

Rural Catalyst, which was set up last year by Ken Dytor, chief executive of Urban Catalyst, is to study how to reverse the decline in rural economies by identifying jobs to stimulate economic growth.

Dytor said the inquiry was part of a process that could result in fresh development for rural areas.

He said: “Rural Catalyst is part of a continuing process to look at the economies of rural markets. We’d like to look at the interface between urban and rural societies.”

Dytor said that the study was looking at how to use the traditional strengths of an area to stimulate jobs and create affordable housing, which is increasingly scarce in rural regions.

The developer intends to speak to regional development agencies and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The developer will produce a briefing document for the agencies.

The initiative could eventually see brownfield urban areas in London “greened” to complement developments such as the Thames Gateway. Architect Sir Terry Farrell has already produced a masterplan identifying how the gateway could be turned into a national park.

The study fits into a growing movement, New Ruralism, which has emerged from the New Urbanism movement in the USA. In the UK, interested bodies such as the Soil Association, the Countryside Agency and the Prince’s Foundation are working on re-establishing traditional identities for rural areas to reinvigorate local economies.