Community Economic Development


The Resilience Imperative, Co-operative Transitions to a Steady State Economy

by Mike Lewis and Pat Conaty (published in 2012 by New Society Publishers; French translation, Impératif Transition: Construire une économie solidaire published in 2015 by les Éditions Écosociété; Korean translation published in 2015 by Tabi Publishing)

RI English version

This book is based upon research and reflection supported by BALTA during its initial research program from 2006-2012. It explored many of the themes that became central to BALTA’s work in its Scaling Innovation for Sustainability Project. With our communities confronted by major sustainability challenges, many linked to the impact of climate change, it argues for replacing the paradigm of limitless economic growth with a more decentralized, co-operative, steady-state economy.  It examines case studies of success in energy sufficiency, local food systems, low-cost community based financing, affordable housing and land reform. Specific chapters and the book as a whole redefine community economic development within a sustainability and steady-state economic framework.

Order the book.

Order the book in French.

Order the book in Korean.

Research Reports and Other Resources

Hinton and Grande Cache Sustainability Project

BALTA Researchers Involved:  Dr. Mike Gismondi, Athabasca University; Dr. Jorge Sousa, University of Alberta

The resource-based, northern Alberta communities of Hinton and Grande Cache have each identified a crucial need to diversify their traditional economies and social structures. The current economic state of these municipalities is strong but their historic, resource-dependent economies – with their associated boom-and-bust cycles – are considered to be unsustainable for the longer term. Both communities wish to increase their economic diversity, entrepreneurial capacity, the cultural component of their communities, and their long term sustainability. Athabasca University worked with the communities to explore options for addressing these needs.

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For further information about the project and copies of reports produced by the project, see the project website.

Read a short article on the project.

Municipal Government Support of the Social Economy Sector

Research Project Lead:  Jenny Kain, City of Edmonton
Student Research Assistants:  Emma Sharkey, University of Victoria; Robyn Webb, University of Manitoba
Research Collaborators:  Peter Hall, Simon Fraser University; Brendan Reimer, Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDNet)

This project examined the range of ways in which municipal governments are engaging with and supporting the social economy. The research included municipalities in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario (northwestern portion of the province). The research identified a range of models of engagement and opportunities for strengthening the role of municipal governments in supporting the social economy. (This research was a joint initiative with the Saskatchewan/Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario node of the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships.)

Read the research report.

View a power point presentation on the research.

Unleashing Local Capital (ULC)

BALTA-linked researchers involved:  Dr. Mike Gismondi and Juanita Marois, Athabasca University; Paul cabaj and Seth Leon, Alberta Community and Co-operative Association; BALTA staff, Danica Straith, also co-wrote a book chapter on Unleashing Local Capital

ULC was initiated and is managed by the Alberta Community and Co-operative Association. The project empowers rural Alberta communities to invest locally, direct their own economic development and reduce dependency on government supports by directing outward-bound investments towards local businesses, keeping local capital flowing through local communities. ULC educates communities on how to establish an Opportunity Development Co-operative (ODC) – a  co-op  that pools and manages capital raised from local investors, which is then invested in local businesses. ULC has also directly supported the development of ODCs in several communities. The development of ULC was based on BALTA research and BALTA researchers have supported ULC with research, resource development and evaluation.

See a short video on ULC and opportunity development co-operatives.

Visit the Unleashing Local Capital website.  The site includes information about ULC and ODC, including information about several ODCs that have already been formed.

Read a 2014 evaluation by BALTA researchers of the initial development of Unleashing Local Capital.

Read a report by BALTA researchers on Barriers to Participation in the Unleashing Local Capital Project.

Read a 2015 book chapter by BALTA researchers on Unleashing Local Capital.

Read reports on the earlier BALTA research that helped to inspire and lead to ULC:

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