Re-conceptualizing the Redevelopment of Rural Communities through the Lens of an Ecological Framework
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Today, Canada’s population is over 80 percent urban as exemplified by our growing cities. As a result of outmigration to urban centres, many rural economies in Atlantic Canada are struggling socially and economically. This research examines the redevelopment of rural communities through a lens of continuous cycles of adaptive change - based on Holling’s ecological concept of panarchy. By drawing on the characteristics of ecological communities, this panarchy-based theoretical framework uses a novel approach to reflect on a community’s position along its own adaptive change cycle and identifies leverage points where policy intervention may be most advantageous. This research also examines the practical application of this framework via interviews with economic development officials. Overall, the results of this research suggest that the panarchy-based framework offers constructive guidance to policy makers seeking to push or pull rural communities into positions of higher resiliency and to expedite times of economic uncertainty.