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4. Paths and dependencies Each community is different, and one way to articulate that difference is through governance paths. A path is something dependent, subject to chance and varying circumstances and leading to certain places and not others. It is a route to future possibilities created through the past actions of governance stakeholders. Both the thing moving along the path, the local community, and the surrounding landscape determine what is possible. The concept of a governance path draws attention to the importance of history, context, and the rigidity of collective decisionmaking when planning a community’s future. Governance paths more precisely defined are a series of governance configurations evolving over time. Each step in the evolution, each configuration of governance, reveals at least a slight difference in the actors engaged, in the forms of knowledge and narratives that inform it, and in the relationship between formal and informal institutions involved. In order to understand the potential options available to a community for dealing with the effects of boom and bust cycles in a given time, it is useful to reconstruct the governance path, to consider past ups and downs, changing patterns of coordination, formal and informal institutions, and inclusion and exclusion of certain actors and forms of knowledge. Understanding who was involved in which cycles, which tools were used and not used, which plans, policies, and laws worked and how; all of these mapping exercises can help identify what tools and strategies can work here and now. If laws were never obeyed in a community, then a new law will not fix the problem — unless other aspects of governance are changed, some form of the status quo “rule of law” is restored. If comprehensive planning has never been used, then solving a coordination problem by means of planning will be difficult. The influence of past governance paths can also apply to specific types of actors. For example, if landscape architecture is strongly associated with the gardeners of the hated old elite, or a community is suspicious of biologists because of past associations with higher levels of government, then there will likely be strong resistance to these groups taking a leadership role in a new governance strategy. Looking at the rigidity in the governance path means examining existing relationships and dependencies. We distinguish three types of dependencies: path dependence, interdependence, and goal dependence.

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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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