UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Planning Northwest British Columbia economic development : a comparative study Webber, Andrew J. M.


The thesis is; a retrospective examination of two economic plans and their respective planning processes, undertaken for the same area during the same time period. The geographic setting for the thesis is northwestern British Columbia. The time period covered by the review is approximately 1980 to 1985. The thesis describes the differences which can occur between the two plans and searches for variations in the planning processes which seem to account for these differences. The economic plan produced by the British Columbia provincial government recommends a future regional economy based on large-scale, capital-intensive technology and functional integration of the region with a world economy. The planning process used was centralized and technocratic. The other plan, produced by the regional Economic Development Commission, also recommends functional integration but is oriented towards sustained community development and appropriate (i.e. small-scale, locally-controlled) technology. The plan is informed by a locally-based, participatory process. Categories for comparing the two plans and processes are drawn from regional development planning literature, planning theory literature and review of the cases themselves. Nine planning process variables are employed in the analysis. The study concludes that the critical planning process variables which affect the content of the plans are: the level of public participation in each process, the manner in which control over planning process is centralized or decentralized, and the spatial interest of key actors. The study method used, an ex post facto case study, however, can only infer causal relationships between process and plan variables; it does not provide certain knowledge of these relationships.

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