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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Resource communities in transition : planning for rural community survival: Zeballos, British Columbia Grinnell, Deana F.


Exploring planning methodology for BC's resource-based communities, this paper investigates rural community transition and proposes a planning framework based on enhancing the survival capacity of communities facing the pressures and challenges of economic and social change. Utilizing both primary and secondary research methods (including a review of relevant literature, government publications, and a pilot of the proposed method in Zeballos, British Columbia), this analysis is intended to contribute to the practicing planner's tools for working with rural communities in economic and social transition. The study first examines the context of British Columbia's forestry-dependent communities. It explores the literature around successful community development efforts and also around stable and resilient communities and identifies Fourteen Characteristics of Surviving Rural Communities. It then proposes a planning method that is responsive to these characteristics, with a goal to both build awareness of the community's inherent survival capacity and to foster it through a 'learning-by-doing' process. It also examines the role of the planner in working with these communities. Working with the community of Zeballos, the pilot process revealed several insights about planning with transitioning communities. These communities are not alike, they are shaped by a range of factors and face diverse influences. Yet all require a willingness to accept and embrace change and they require support in managing change. Best efforts to plan for an achievable transition strategy requires considerable forethought in preparing a planning methodology that serves the community's needs and enables the community to shape goals toward achievable outcomes. For communities in transition, enhancing local capacity to survive and manage change may be as important as selecting any specific transition outcome, for it has been shown that it is in the way that communities determine and implement their transition strategy that determines success in the effort.

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