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Mapping continuity: Assumptions of the present, analyses of the past New community stories emerge most successfully out of old ones. New identities do not come from nowhere. Mapping the changing patterns and impacts of stories, competing ideas of identity, of the good community and the good future, stories on the past, can prove useful in strategy building. Mapping power and knowledge means looking for these alternating, competing, amalgamating, invented, and forgotten stories, tracing how they link to actors and institutions. It is investigating the layering and embedding of stories which marks any community. Ideologies can compete and can be embedded in narratives about the place. Narratives in governance can include and exclude local and expert voices. The use of particular metaphors can inspire a certain delineation of problems, and solutions, and foster new understanding of the world. The layers of stories in governance tend to keep its image of self and environment in place, so alternative understandings of the world seep in only with great difficulty. Alternative ways of organizing ourselves seem empty, appear to be based on nothing. As individuals and as communities, we tend to create storied worlds which hold their own test of truth, tricks to render oneself immune to external truth and value — no, evolution cannot be real, and fossils are obviously God testing our belief. The most cohesive, cozy communities can also be the ones that shatter when circumstances change. They cannot adapt. On the other hand, social cohesion, social capital, and strong identity can also have the opposite effects, enabling strong strategy building and adaptation if the concepts of diversity, learning, and adaptation are gradually built into the self-image, and if conflict and difference are given a structural place in self-governance. • Smithers, BC is aware of its Swiss heritage. It chose Swiss themes for its downtown revitalization, drawing on its local roots without imposing a unitary style. Historically, Swiss guides explored the mountains and made trails for mining exploration, for leisure, and to reconnect with their own European mountain roots. A Swiss hiking club was entrusted with monitoring early ascents and caring for the landscape. Members kept a record of all trail-making and climbing in specialized books, and shared their knowledge within their community. Social learning was enabled through this Swiss, and later semi-Swiss, network, and both community knowledge and asset building were encouraged through it. Smithers was able to brand its Swiss connection, because it there was a reality to it, and because that reality was easy to turn into an attractive story, and easy to link to the physical townscape and landscape.

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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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