Boom and Bust in Alberta and British Columbia

This project aims to contribute to the understanding of cycles of boom, bust and decay in Canadian small towns and to the formulation of policy recommendations for tempering those cycles. We look at two provinces, Alberta and British Columbia, and compare the pathways, development trajectories of sets of small towns, and are especially interested in the impact of policies and practices regarding the extraction and management of natural resources on the evolution of these communities. We speak of governance paths, and will endeavour to map these paths as well as their context. Each path is unique, and will respond differently to intervention attempts; therefore, we look at previous attempts to deal with boom and bust in the context of these community evolutions. The project is a group effort, with five U of A colleagues, and a graduate student. The significance in academia can be located in several disciplines: environmental studies, planning, public administration, policy studies, and economics. The resulting theory can establish new linkages between these disciplines, useful in answering a set of common policy questions.

As a part of this project the Principal Investigator Kristof Can Assche also received a KIAS Team Grant to aid in developing a team to study boom, decaying and ghost towns in Alberta and British Columbia employing an evolutionary governance lens. Understanding boom & bust cycles through a mapping and comparative analysis of governance paths and linkages with physical and policy landscapes in order to discern ways to temper boom & bust cycles and to foster sustainable development. The grant will support the building of a research team of academics from different disciplines with both local and international experience and expertise in development issues to study and analyze change in boom, decaying and ghost towns in Alberta and British Columbia.  The research will have implications for sustainable development of such communities. The team will use the grant to work together to develop a research plan and an appropriate methodological/ theoretical frame for the work.  Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of this collective effort.

More information about Boom and Bust: A Guide can be found at the University of Alberta's City Region Studies Centre.

Boom and Bust: A Guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, as an open source resource available for communities and scholars alike. Access the online version through Issuu.