Boom and Bust: A guide for managing ups and downs in communities is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs which too often characterize western Canadian communities. It offers community leaders, politicians, administrators, academics, students, and all active citizens helpful techniques to analyze the current state of their own community, understand how it got where it is today, and ultimately, identify possible ways forward. We encourage analysis of historical paths and policy contexts to better understand what strategies might work (or not) in a community.
The authors encourage readers to learn from local histories, a broad range of tested theories, and the experiences of other communities to develop a context-sensitive strategy of asset building, while at the same time taking on an informed understanding of what assets and resources could support long-term development planning for their communities. They demonstrate that assets become such within a context and within a narrative, forming a story about the past, present, and future of the community.
By showing the importance of reinvention and the dangers of rigid identity, the authors call on communities to re-evaluate their assets and their dependencies, and ultimately to reintroduce long-term perspectives within governance.
By acknowledging the difficulty of local control over local development in a global economy, the guide offers strategies to broaden perspectives and inspire local action, as well as to harness the power of informal relations, latent stories, silent assets, and diverse local identities to cultivate more varied and prosperous futures.