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A few things became clear, we believe, from our analysis of Western Canadian experiences with boom and bust. We think that first and foremost, clarification of what happened here and how people responded to violent ups and downs is helpful for both locals and for the rest of the world. Some of what happened in Western Canada is already over-studied, yet often the perspectives are specialized or overlap in their analyses, so there is plenty to add, plenty of ideas which can be useful for other western Canadian communities struggling with similar issues. We also believe these learnings have relevance beyond Alberta and British Columbia, and even beyond the Canadian context. What the rest of the world can learn from the Canadian West, and apply to resource-contingent governance and planning, has everything to do with the characteristics of this region: • a short history of resource exploitation, from which so much can be observed and reconstructed; • a diversity of resources in the geographic region; • an influx of capital and people magnifying the scope of exploitation; • a large number of short-lived towns and communities dependent on single resources; • a strong tradition of localism, enshrined in provincial and federal legislation, creating more diverse institutional experiments; and certainly, • a wide variety of experiences and approaches to risk assessment, of place and community attachments, and last but not least, of strategies to deal with boom and bust cycles.

Governance What can the rest of the world learn? What can the Canadian West learn? We structure this last chapter as a summary of key learnings, short theses and maxims that have emerged from our research on the Western Canadian boom/bust experience, and from experiences and research elsewhere. Some points derive more from Canada, from our cases and observations, others are more directly discussed in secondary literature or based on our own experiences and research in other parts of the world, where issues of boom and bust are similarly close to the surface. The result is an easy-to-digest analysis of governance and planning strategies for boom/bust communities which can hopefully inspire communities in Canada and beyond. It’s important to remember when perusing this section that while in most cases, learning, adaptation, and reinvention are all possible, effective long-term planning is also restricted by the unique conditions and contexts of the community, which have to be understood well. 200

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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