Augustana Extended Education (AEE)

Rural Planning & Development

Would you like Rural Planning & Development delivered within your community or for your organization? Contact the AEE Program Coordinator AugustanaExtendedEd@ualberta.ca or 780-679-1502.


Every community needs a tailored development strategy. The success of the strategy hinges on the quality of self-analysis; learning from other places, from the past, from theory. There is not a copy-paste strategy or a universal recipe for good development, planning, or governance.

Created for municipal planners and administrators, this six hour course focuses on rural planning and design in the context of rural development. It looks at the Alberta, national, and international context, and discusses the importance of boom and bust cycles for rural planning and design, and for community strategy.

Course Highlights

Rural Planning & Development combines research-based findings on rural planning and development, combined with field expertise from industry expert, Kristof Van Assche. Through participating in this course, you will:

  • Be introduced to the basic notions of governance (collectively binding decisions in communities) and planning (as spatial governance), and how planning and design is part of broader governance.
  • Discuss how self-analysis of the community is an important step towards a community strategy (where planning and design find a place), in addition to forms and techniques of such analysis.
  • Explore influential approaches to rural development. Special attention will be paid to the forms and roles of planning and design associated with the different development approaches.
  • Analyze types of development approached in the region and in Western Canada including not only issues of rural development and planning (which can be experienced in many parts of the world) but also with the big ups and downs we call boom and bust.
  • Discuss local issues and the strategies that they might inspire, experiences with strategies already tried, and how cooperation and collaboration might be used as part of a broader strategy.

About the Instructor

Kristof Van AsscheKristof Van Assche

Kristof Van Assche is Associate Professor Planning, Governance & Development at the Faculty of Extension, U of Alberta, Visiting Associate Professor Strategic Communication at Wageningen University, and Research Fellow Development at Bonn University. Kristof is interested in transition and innovation in governance, with special focus on planning, development and environmental policy. He has worked on rural issues in Europe, Asia, the Americas, and also recently in Africa (Ethiopia). His book Rural Development, Knowledge and Expertise in Governance (Wageningen Academic, 2015, with Anna Katharina Hornidge) combines his various international experiences into a comprehensive perspective on different ideas and practices regarding rural development, and gives a prominent role to rural planning and design. Kristof has also extensive practical experience with advising rural communities and governments on planning and development issues.