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by the rest to have an impact. Shock therapy may be necessary, especially after a situation has gotten dire, but is not the ideal, or most democratic, approach. As a rule, we recommend slow capacity building whenever possible. More specifically, we recommend slow capacity building not as hiring and developing skills, but rather as deliberately increasing reflexivity and observational capacity in the governance system. Reflexivity, as reviewed in Part III, is the ability and habit to reflect on one’s own actions and thoughts. Exposing assumptions, ideologies, dependencies, and informalities in local governance creates a new perspective which sees new limitations and new options for development. Observational capacity is the capacity to observe real drivers of the cycles, actual actors and institutions, the dynamics of power/knowledge playing out, and the effects of past and current governance on the environment. The tracing of dependencies is in fact already a community activity which sharpens observational capacity. Path and context analyses are stepping stones for developing reflexivity and observational capacity. Reflexivity can be encouraged in many ways: • ordering studies, inviting visitors (external experts, people from places with similar issues, or simply outsiders with a different and possibly refreshing perspective) • revisiting older studies, local media, histories, • asking questions, asking others to ask questions, • mixing up governance modes and forms, both in the sense of shaking up and of combining, both ways to keep citizens and leaders awake. • bringing new actors and perspectives around the table in facilitated community engagement/participatory governance, • creating places and moments where doubt can be expressed and explored without harm or consequence, • making a habit of comparing other places and perspectives in neutral settings, • switching governance and community leadership roles on a regular basis, and • leadership not being afraid to confront the community with itself. Many of those are already built into path and context mapping, which encourages reflexivity and observational capacity throughout the process. Afterwards these capacities need to be built into governance routines. • In several Alberta towns, there exists a strong self-description as a rural town, and the implication that agriculture is the backbone of the economy and the driver of future development. The reality in many

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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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