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parties in discussions might create room for alternative strategies, might reframe their narratives, even ever so slightly. Once positive results of another approach become visible, this could reinforce the process of narrative change.

• The image of certain uses of the building, of certain users, can hinder downtown redevelopment. If a community college is seen as a nuisance, and student renters as problems, then it is not very likely that a local council will capitalize on the opportunity to use student housing as part of downtown revitalization. Even if the negative images are not very strong, they can still impede action because, beyond public opinion, current zoning, housing standards, and rental regulation would also likely stand in the way. Similarly, if property rights are seen as absolute, and owners are in the council, then those owners are unlikely to introduce a property owner’s tax for improving ruinous downtown buildings, which could otherwise be an effective means of unfreezing a stall in downtown revitalization. • Each and every case will be different — the assets in the downtown, the extent to which the whole downtown is an asset, the potential for this or that type of mixed-use, and the kind and level of pressure which can be exerted on planning for the outskirts and on owners locally — all these factors will impact a downtown development or revitalization strategy. The quality of self-analysis and context analysis will determine the quality of strategy-making. Crucially in this case: the analysis will determine the quality of the decision to do something with the downtown, or even use it to kickstart a reinvention of the community. Copying a downtown development policy from a book or a neighboring town will not work. Listening to stories of success and failure cannot be too reverential; critique and self-critique are in place. In some cases, self-analysis may reveal that a downtown revival is not the best option for your community; there might be very few interesting places or buildings there, a workforce which is vehemently opposed to living in such place, a retail sector which has been allowed to grow for a long time along a highway, or a service sector (potential residents of downtown), which has been lured away by a neighbouring town. Playing the card of downtown development in a big way requires a very careful analysis, as so much is staked on this one card. If this is a community’s decision, then we would recommend creating and maintaining a diversity of institutions to pursue partial strategies to further this goal.

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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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