Redesign in Action is a monthly newsletter from the Community Development Institute (CDI) at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). The CDI has partnered with Community Futures and the City of Prince Rupert to develop and implement strategies for economic diversification and community resilience. The purpose of this newsletter is to share news, events, and resources related to Redesign Rupert.
Building economic diversity and community resilience
People have asked us what Redesign Rupert is all about. The short answer is that it is about building economic diversity and community resilience.
Let’s start with economic diversity. What does that mean and why is it important?
We know that communities that have a diverse economy are more likely to be stable, sustainable, and prosperous over the long term. On the other hand, communities that rely on a single resource or industry tend to experience rapid and frequent economic upswings and downturns.
A diversified economy is one that provides the opportunity for sustainability because there is not a reliance on only one or two streams for jobs and revenue. If one economic sector should fail or falter, other sectors will be able to support and sustain the community. Strategies for economic diversification include the development of new opportunities: within existing sectors and revenue streams, between existing sectors and revenue streams, and in entirely new sectors and revenue streams. A common example of an opportunity developed within an existing revenue stream is the establishment of the wood pellet industry, which makes use of waste from wood manufacturing. An opportunity developed between existing revenue streams is the use of ash from bioenergy production as fertilizer for agriculture. An entirely new sector in northern BC is the establishment of fruit wineries.
In developing strategies for economic diversification, communities can create even greater sustainability and stability if they pursue revenue streams in three markets: global, regional, and local. The key benefit of links to the global economy is the ability to generate revenue from outside of the community. The key risk is vulnerability to global price and demand swings that create “boom and bust” cycles. Links to the regional economy have two key benefits: access to a broader market for goods and services and the opportunity for specialization and collaboration. For northern BC, these would include stronger links between communities, between communities and rural areas, and with the metropolitan areas of the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island. One key risk of pursuing regional diversification strategies occurs when communities do not collaborate and, instead, enter into unhealthy and unhelpful competition. The key benefits of developing revenue streams and jobs linked to the local economy are that money in the community continues to circulate in the community and that this promotes local ownership and entrepreneurism. A key risk is the vulnerability created when there are limited new dollars coming in to the community from outside. In developing economic diversification, achieving balance between local, regional, and global markets is critically important.
Communities developing strategies for economic diversification will be most successful if the strategies are based on local strengths and assets and the aspirations of the people who live there. Identifying, utilizing, and enhancing the community’s natural, physical, and human assets will help ensure that economic growth is based on a sustainable foundation and has the support of residents.
Economic diversification and transformation requires a long-term commitment and hard work. Many single-industry communities that embark on economic diversification efforts in a downturn will abandon them as soon as there is an upswing, only to be hit again by the impacts of the next downturn. But, as many communities that have stayed the course toward diversification have told us, it is worth the effort!
In the next issue of this newsletter, we will look at the concept of community resilience and its link to economic diversification.
CDI Co-Director Marleen Morris joined the CDI Team in Prince Rupert during the first week of March to conduct a number of one-to-one and small group community dialogue sessions. The CDI Team met with community members from non-profit organizations, businesses, local government, community organizations, Aboriginal groups, and industry, bringing the total number of community meetings completed so far to over 40. The meetings are an opportunity to learn more about the organizations that are working on economic diversification and community resilience and to share information about the Redesign Rupert project.
Meet the CDI Redesign Rupert Team
Visit the CDI Community Liaison Assistants, Lindsey Stinson and Amanda Brown in the community office Monday to Friday 10:00am to 12:00pm. The office is co-located in Community Futures at Suite 100 - 515 3rd Ave West, Prince Rupert.
CDI Speaker Series: Finding the Rhythm in Your Community.
The Community Development Institute is proud to present their Speaker Series event: Finding the Rhythm in Your Community. The event will feature a talk with Teresa MacQuarrie, retired VIU music professor, choral director, and community music organizer, as well as other music promoters from northern BC. Learn how music can be used to encourage community cohesion and economic opportunities for different community groups across British Columbia. Redesign Rupert will be hosting a free livestream of the event at Northwest Community College.
Date: April 7
Time: 7 - 8:30pm
Location: NWCC South Block Room 188 RSVP NOW
Community Mapping Series
Redesign Rupert will be engaging the community through a series of community mapping events to identify Prince Rupert's assets and capacities, as well as a look into future scenarios.
Stay tuned for more information about Community Mapping events.
Throughout the course of the Redesign Rupert project, the CDI will release a series of brief community profiles that will look at currently available data to create a picture of Prince Rupert today.
A few of the topics we will explore include population demographics, housing, family makeup, and employment. We are pleased to present the first in this series: the Age Profile of Prince Rupert.
Stayed tuned for Part Two of the series, which will highlight aspects of early childhood development and educational attainment in Prince Rupert.
Read the Age Profile of
Prince Rupert Secondary Suites
In early discussions with organizations in Prince Rupert, the CDI Redesign Rupert team heard concerns around housing. Over the past year, the City of Prince Rupert has taken steps to collect data on the current state of housing in community.
Secondary suites are a relatively simple way to increase the number of housing units on the market and there are many benefits to the homeowner, the tenants, and the municipality. Urban Systems produced a report for the City of Prince Rupert examining the benefits, legislation, issues, and policy options available to allow, regulate and encourage the registration of secondary suites in Prince Rupert.
Our mailing address is:
Community Development Institute
Suite 100 - 515 3rd Avenue West
Prince Rupert, British Columbia V8J 1L9
For more information about this newsletter, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org