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Strategies rarely follow directly out of analyses. Designs rarely follow out of design studies, and good managers often don’t know exactly what they’re doing. For boom/bust communities, no analyses, including the ones we have proposed, will tell you exactly what to do or how to generate a good strategy without risk and with perfect adaptation to the circumstances. The path/ context mapping approach does have many benefits: it can be as participatory as one wants, it can blend analysis and strategy-making naturally, and it is a useful self-analysis that can help developa community’s adaptive capacity. Building a strategy for mitigating boom/bust cycles is first of all a governance matter, not a matter for technical specialists — less so even than the preceding analyses. Nobody should tell a community how to face boom and bust cycles. If a place does not see itself as unified, or if citizens are attached too deeply to an entrenched industry, or else to the place as it is and accept things as they are (a curious form of resilience), then much of what we have said will fall by the wayside, and that is fine. If, on the other hand, there is a shared desire within the community to move on, become more adaptive, diversified, and in general build a better place to live, then some form of long-term perspective and common vision will be utterly useful. A first general principle for community strategizing is that we need a governance strategy inspired by governance analysis. Making plans, writing policies, and convening fora without having a firm grounding in the evolving governance configurations of the community will likely have little or unpredictable effects. Implementation, we know, is not a single step to take after assembling a new strategy or plan; rather, it is a process part and parcel to ongoing governance, in which many of the same actors, institutions, stories, and dependencies play out. Any new rule will be remolded once it lands in the same context it emerged from. It is therefore better to know that context and design your strategy to work within it. We have structured this chapter around key strategy questions that boom/bust communities should consider when developing a long-term plan. They represent basic choices and fundamental issues for any community seeking to overcome the volatility of boom and bust.

Figure 12. Community development requires both tactics and strategy, short term goals and long term visions. Some tactics can be directly inspired by the strategy, but often, a detailed local knowledge and quick adaptation by leadership are required to see the small possibilities, small windows of opportunity to create new building blocks and stepping stones.

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Boom and Bust: a guide

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

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