From Boom and Bust to Regional Waves: Development Patterns in the Peace River Region, British Columbia

Ryser, Laura and Markey, Sean and Manson, Don and Halseth, Greg (2014) From Boom and Bust to Regional Waves: Development Patterns in the Peace River Region, British Columbia. Journal of Rural and Community Development, 9 (1). ISSN 1712-8277

[img] [English] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (395kB)


Many studies of rural and remote resource region development focus upon the stresses associated with economic booms or busts. But what happens in regionswhere, over time, the pattern has become one of on-going and alternating up-and down-swings in economic activity? Rather than coping with the pressures of growth or contraction at various times, communities must adapt to a perpetual state of readiness toreact and plan within a much more compressed timeline. We use the concept of “regional waves” to describe this new pattern of economic development and impact on remote rural regions. To explore this phenomenon, we draw upon the Peace River region of northeastern British Columbia, Canada, where the oil and gas industry has been well established for decades. We begin with a review of Staples Theory, and the challenges for local and regional economies associated with staples dependency and the staples trap. This is followed by the introduction of regional economic waves that are set against a context in which communities, as a result of neoliberal policies, are increasingly left on their own to react to the pressures of change. The paper goes on to examine howcommunities with limited capacities and service resources are reacting through innovative responses to the regional wave pattern. We review community innovation in response to four issues: infrastructure deficit, human and social service provision, services to industry, and housing. The discussion then highlights how this oil and gas frontier region has experienced rapid and alternating cycles of economic up-and down-swings; how these connect with the role of the private sector; the consequences of a neoliberal approach to development policy; and the demand for a new model of resource town development that addresses the need for ongoing readiness.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 14175
Keywords: oil and gas development, regional development, boom-bust, regional development waves
Department(s): Divisions > On the Move Partnership
Date: 2014
Date Type: Publication
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics