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transition to a different economic base after a bust. Finally, the physical nature of the resource itself leaves a material legacy through subtle influence over the development of other physical elements and structures of a community — the nature of the important resource in town pushes the physical and cultural development of the town in a certain direction. Material dependencies can vary in influence and permanence. If a community is located on a major highway system linking key cities, this element of the built environment provides opportunities for the future that differ from remote communities, where infrastructure ends. Logging roads can be used for infrastructure later, yet water pollution from mining can remain in the ecosystem for decades and can preclude a number of development strategies. Amenities from a previous resource boom can be a drag on local finances, or an asset and a starting point for reinvention. For example, historical rail lines are hard to remove, but can give space to build bike trails. Dumps, sites with abandoned equipment and soil pollution will shape development negatively, by avoidance, and thus structure peri-urban usage. Material paths, as all path dependencies, thus never generate only one possible next step. However, they do restrict and shape what is likely to happen and impact which plans can likely work. Figure 6. The material or physical context of a governance configuration (in the diagram the layer around it) is important anywhere, but especially in boom/bust communities. Material path dependencies stem from a complex interplay between material context and governance configuration. What happens in the physical environment can have effects on the governance configuration, and/or on the physical environment, and the other way around, what happens in governance does not stay in governance. Pollution eg can reduce governance options for a long time.

Interdependencies represent another potential source of rigidity in the governance path. What is possible in governance at one point in time hinges on the relationship(s) between the actors involved. Relationships with certain actors or groups of actors may be necessary to avoid obstruction, or they might facilitate access to resources, expertise, or labour. Similarly, actors and institutions can become interdependent when they develop and evolve alongside one another. Lawyers and laws, for example, are part of the same process of institutional innovation. Money and bankers co-evolve. Closer to our topic of discussion: without a planner, formal planning is harder; further, without a local history of planning with plans or a local coalition coalescing around it, it is also hard. When strategizing for community development, it is quite useful to understand such interdependence between actor and institution. 18

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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