The 2011 Culture, Place and Identity at the Heart of Regional Development Conference examined the relationship between the arts, cultural heritage and regional development in islands, rural, and remote regions. Rural, remote, and coastal communities throughout Canada and internationally are presented with the opportunities and challenges of initiating and maintaining sustainable economic development, often in the face of declining resources and traditional economies. These communities and the regions within which they are located are hosts of social, cultural and economic transformation associated with a deemphasis on primary resource production in favour of more diversified economic activities. Tourism and the arts are crucial dimensions of the new rural economy. In response to the dynamics outlined by forces such as post-productivism and competitiveness, the current literature increasingly advocates place-based rather than sectoral approaches to policy and planning. Challenges associated with representations of place, and multiple and changing identities are recognized as part of this process, as is the role of cultural norms and social relationships in nurturing creativity, innovation and resilience. This current literature, and the changes and challenges in rural, remote, and coastal communities that it addresses, have shaped the book’s core themes, in particular its timely focus on assets and attachments of place and their implication for community resilience and sustainability.
Despite increases in mobility and processes of globalization, strong attachments to place remain. This sense of belonging and strong attachment is particularly true of rural and remote communities in Canada. At the same time, local cultures are “threatened by the forces of global political, economic and social change” (Hay, 2006, p. 31), which in turn has generated significant interest in place and place-based development. In some cases, local languages and cultures have become important tools for economic development and political strategies to adapt to the changes associated with globalization.
Place Peripheral examines regional development in coastal, rural, and remote communities from a place-based approach. The volume moves beyond simply commodification of place to recognize the broader and deeper significance and attachments often associated with place. The contributions in the volume investigate the relationships between cultural and social development and sense of place and environmental stewardship, for example.
This edited volume makes a timely contribution to understanding place and place-based development. The central topic of the edited volume is receiving considerable attention in Canada and internationally. Researchers and government policy analysts alike are striving to understand and apply place and place-based strategies in rural and remote regions. The authors in this volume shed light on how place-based strategies have been employed as well as the policies, processes and partnerships that have supported their implementation.
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