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6. Strategy question 6: What about the material environment? Strategies stand a better chance when they are grounded, grounded in place and in community. For boom/bust communities, the importance of materiality, material path dependencies, and material assets (resources, environmental features, heritage) deserve extra attention. Explicitly speaking of the landscape as a bundle of assets, as a place to live, a place to extract resources, a place affected by everything we do, can be a way of testing, grounding, and further developing strategy. This is a matter of adopting a different perspective in strategy-making, of institutionalizing this perspective in everyday governance afterwards, and when appropriate, of bringing in external expertise to fully understand material impacts and legacies. • Not all trees are the same. All species have different ecological effects and vulnerabilities. If a tree plantation has little internal ecological diversity, for example, its resilience will be lower and its vulnerability to pests and weather changes will be higher. If no expertise of alternative forestry systems, of their ecological and economic features, was developed in a community or built into their development strategies, then the measuring of “environmental impact” will always be coloured by limited knowledge and narrow perspectives. Alternatives will not be seen and counted, and the particular connections seen between material and social environment will be limited. • Because the material world is not a sum of places and elements but rather a system, an ecological system tied to communities into a socioecological system, strategies have to take into account the multiplicity of relationships within the system. Partial solutions or strategies aiming at one area or one aspect of the material environment are fine, if coordinated within a larger frame of reference, where the impacts of the whole strategy on the quality of the socio-ecological system are understood and made visible. Such coordination, such view and steering of the whole, the socio- ecological system, can take place in spatial planning. It can also take place elsewhere, in informal community coordination with ambition, with an eye on a particular development path of place and landscape. And it can happen through comprehensive development policies, involving coordination of politics and various parts of administration, all together aiming to put the community on a certain track.

Part IV: Boom/Bust:Moving forwards: Strategy-making

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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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