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ghost town. Some simple but important questions loom large here: Is it a tragedy that ghost towns exist? Should they have been sustainable, all of them? In some cases, it’s possible that, to quote the Italian writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (“The leopard”): “all has to change, if we want to remain the same”. As in the BC coastal fishing towns discussed earlier in this section: if we want to become a sustainable fishing town, then all has to change, namely fish, fishermen livelihoods, and fishing style. Sustainability, for us, is not always an overriding value at the smallest scale, and, positively, sustainability thinking becomes an orientation on the long term in governance, a systematic exploration of the long term effects of governance, in a new long term perspective, the type of strategy we argue for.

Sustainability and resilience do not necessarily need to be the backbone of a governance structure. Instead, they can serve as important reference points against which decisions are tested. Just as happiness might not be something that is pursued for its own sake, but rather something that comes along when giving meaning to one’s life and activities, sustainability and resilience can be seen as outcomes of good governance, where other substantial and procedural goals are tested and checked for long term implications. In problematic places where environmental issues are a significant obstacle to development and quality of life, concepts of sustainability can, for a while, give structure to collective action and governance, can form the foundation for early phases of a development strategy. This, we think, is similar to radical participation, in that a certain mode of governance might not work in the long run, but might be a necessary phase to get out of a slump and jumpstart a transition. • Sustainability perspectives can dominate in a “cleaning up” phase of development. Cleaning up costs money, and usually, this is not found locally, nor do the companies responsible for pollution or environmental damage typically pay — they’re long gone. In the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, the provincial government (after local lobby) paid for the cleanup of the slack heaps, the coal dust, ruinous structures, and unstable sites left behind by mining activities. This was not directly labeled as a sustainability strategy in the 1980s, but it was in fact the long-term policy focus in several villages in the region, among them Coleman. Many locals did not recognize it as such, at the time or even now, but this action and focus opened up the door to other futures, such as environmental tourism, for the community and for the region. • The diversity of materials on sustainability planning available can serve as inspiration. As with other approaches, many versions of sustainable community development and planning exist, quite different from each other. To make a critical selection possible, and if there are resources available, different consultants or NGOs can be brought in. One can also,

Part V: Development approaches for inspiration and guidance

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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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