WIT Press

Resiliency And Resource-based Communities: A Canadian Case Study


Free (open access)





Page Range

713 - 724




489 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


L. Deacon, T. Lamanes


Resource-based communities (RBC) are a significant feature of the economic geography of Canada. For many of these economies, particularly those based on minerals and petroleum resources, the past 20 years has witnessed tremendous growth. For example, energy exports contributed $113 billion to the Canadian economy in 2011 alone. At the center of this boom is the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB). Like no other RBC in Canadian history, the region’s population has doubled to over 100,000 in less than 10 years. This growth has caused the RMWB to struggle to keep pace with the infrastructural needs of its residents (e.g. health, education, recreation facilities). Despite such concerns, the population of the region is estimated to increase to 250,000 within 30 years. Using the RMWB as a case study, this project examines Canada’s premiere resourcebased region from a long-term resiliency perspective. This project uses key informant interviews with local stakeholders to examine local perceptions of growth and development and their impact on community resiliency. We identify resident retention and resident involvement as the two primary concerns of residents linked to resiliency. This exploratory study suggests the need for further research to examine: (1) the perceived linkages between local infrastructural ideals and institutional governance; (2) the potential role of external information sources (e.g. the mainstream media) on perceptions of growth and development; and (3) the need to develop a “tool-kit” of informative resources for future resource-based communities grappling with rapid growth and attempting to become resilient to the associated challenges.


resource-based community, sustainability, resiliency, urban planning, community development