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• Determining what assets are most important to your community, and your community’s vision for the future, has a major impact on development planning. If trees are the main assets, one can ship them overseas quickly and investing in logging and transport infrastructure would look like they have the greatest benefit to the community. If the asset is wood, then processing locally may seem more logical, and energy can be devoted to find new and more profitable ways of processing. If the forest ecosystem as a whole is the asset, preservation of that asset, enhancing its resilience, will look like a logical strategy. The questions of identification with place and of long-term perspectives return: Are local actors involved in decision-making? Do decision-makers identify with the place? If, so, with a long-term perspective? with a longterm vision for the place? If the answer to all these questions is no, that no local decision-makers have a long-term investment in a community, then one can argue that others have to envision and advance the public interest and long-term goals, probably higher levels of government, or, in absence of that, activist NGOs. • A very different version of the perspective of asset and capacity building is strategic investment in infrastructure — material and intellectual, roads and schools. The idea is that this broad investment in infrastructure opens up more avenues later, allows for diversification to take place more naturally, maybe as the result of additional substantive strategizing, maybe not. Infrastructure investment often requires lobbying with other parties, and infrastructure costs money to maintain. In addition, adding infrastructure without aligning with a broader vision and implementation strategy has the potential to attract unwanted development and activity. In general, we would say that many versions of capacity and asset development are worth exploring, yet tend to be much more meaningful and powerful when choices are made after self-analysis. Then, one can match assets and capacities to the self-understanding of the community, and the “development” part can be sensitive to its unique contexts, dependencies and narratives.

5. Localism and branding “The idea that Fort McMurray is still developing and changing is fine. But, the truth is that Fort McMurray is a city… a relatively large city in fact and a city that has a stable population. Yes, our population has increased very rapidly and yes we are trying to catch up in terms of infrastructure needs, but I wish that I could change the slogan of Fort McMurray and rebrand it: Fort McMurray: All Grown Up.” Fort McMurray resident, 2015. 158

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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