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Localism and branding, as some of the other development approaches, relies on community self-organization, on tight-knit communities with a strong identity and the value of recognizing and creating value locally. It does remain open to input from consultants, academics and other external advisers. Development in terms of localism and branding in a more stable form is seen as taking a step back from world markets of commodities, and learning which local products or features have a value, for locals themselves and for others. Outsiders can visit the community, as tourists or to buy local products, or they can stay at home and buy the local products, tapping into that local identity from a distance.

Image: Adam Roy. Terrace, BC

Asset mapping is crucial here, and even more than in other strategies, one has to ensure that the mapping discussion is a highly reflexive undertaking, undertaken in full awareness that mapping, recognizing, and creating assets are all part of the same process. Asset mapping, as part of path mapping and strategy building, will have to address hard decisions, such as: Do we have enough and interesting enough assets to allow for a localism which is not medieval or tribal? Do we have a good enough match between assets and narratives to make them into products attractive to other people as well? If not, do we accept a low income localism, with problematic access to many services, including health services, because of lacking resources?

In some northern British Columbia towns, local government speaks of development, revenues, and attracting business, but many locals are only moderately interested, as they came to the community for the lifestyle, not shopping malls and prosperity in the form of income statistics. Such quiet and modest localism is an often overlooked development option. It can still be combined with a form of place branding, yet only

Part V: Development approaches for inspiration and guidance

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