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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A community base for northern development Hill, Jessie Hayward


Alternatives are required to replace the dominant paradigm of modernization if the residents and communities of Canada's Northwest Territories are to benefit fully from northern development activities. One such alternative is a bottom-up, community-based development process wherein communities engage in active planning to control and manage the resources of their regions. The purpose of this study is to investigate the implications of staple theory, a model of economic growth based on the export of primary resources, and community development approaches for development in the Northwest Territories. The thesis is that an Anarchist formulation of staple theory provides a theoretical foundation for an alternative, community-based approach to northern regional development. The study describes the contexts of development theory, Canadian regional development, and the dependent nature of northern development. Staple theory, in a basic descriptive form, is then introduced. The prescriptive interpretations of staple theory posited by W.A. Mackintosh, H.A. Innis, and W.L. Gordon and M.H. Watkins are discussed. The study then compares staple theory's prescriptions with those indicated by the Anarchist approach to regional development and community development literature. The combined prescriptions are placed within the context of northern development. The study concludes by outlining the implications of staple theory and community development approaches for regional planning theory and practice in the Northwest Territories. In the context of northern development, the study recommends the adoption of a community-based development policy and a reconnection of regions to their resources as suggested by both the staple theory and community development approaches.

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