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next shock are often even more narrow. In practice, the knowledge in governance will either become a further entrenched version of the present one as leadership and actors “dig in”, or, a radical shift in another direction, similarly contingent on narrow current knowledge and expertise, and similarly missing in diversity, checks and balances, and foresight.

4. Mapping dependencies The concentration problem that rears its head often on these pages implies a strong set of path dependencies, in terms of a limited set of actors, institutions, and power/knowledge keeping each other in place. In path mapping, the tracing of path dependence will provide support later in the building of strategy. Path dependencies do not mean that all is predictable and nothing can be changed; rather, understanding fine-grained patterns of path dependencies can show a community more about the reasons why they work the way they work. It can indicate where leverage points for change can be found. After analysis of path dependencies, some options for the future might be abandoned, some tools reconsidered. Equally possible may be finding a different route to the same objective, via different actors or different stories, employing different, possibly informal, institutions.

Material dependencies If we keep in mind the rapid development, unstable nature, concentration problems, and short-term thinking at work in many boom/bust communities, we can point out certain common path dependencies: • • • • • • •

a few actors dominate the game, and relatively few institutions, so tight and simplified power/knowledge configurations, this means few tools and sites of policy integration, little planning, few comprehensive policies towards community development, a dominance of economics, engineering, and possibly environmental (mitigation, exploration) expertise, • no attention to local knowledges except when helpful in exploration, • a narrowing of future visioning to the future of one industry, and • development understood as a repetition and expansion of the present. Such dependencies demonstrate many of the patterns described earlier in this book. The first four speak to the dynamics of homophily and concentration, and the implications in terms of innovation, change,

Part III: Boom/Bust:Moving forwards: Path and context mapping

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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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