Government and Community Reaction to Boomtown Growth theory

1) Enthusiasm as officials and residents concentrate on the positive economic impacts of job growth and retail spending that are espoused by energy industry spokespeople, while the possible negative impacts are either unknown or are dismissed as unlikely in their specific area; 2) Uncertainty, as the town starts to change as new workers arrive in
noticeable numbers. It is realized that some negative impacts have arrived along with the positive benefits, and that these negative impacts will likely grow. Officials begin to perform preliminary research; however, there are few resources or experienced staff to draw upon, while industry and state government claims there is nothing that can be done. Divisions emerge within the community as to whether the growth is detrimental or beneficial; 3) Near Panic, as the industrial activity and associated impacts grow much quicker than anticipated and the community character changes dramatically in the eyes of longer-term residents who become confused and angry at local officials and each other. Government services are overwhelmed and quality of services declines while officials realize that any increase in revenues will not offset the expenditures in the near future or at all. Government officials find that they are ill-equipped, unprepared or do not have jurisdiction to make the necessary policy decisions while longer term residents feel new
government polices are an affront to the community’s historic way of life; and 4) Adaptation, as the core problems are eventually identified and planning/mitigation strategies are developed. Residents become solidified in their beliefs; however, they begin to accept the reality of the situation at hand. Residents and officials feel a sense of progress.

Freudenburg, W. 1981 “Women and Men in an Energy Boomtown: Adjustment, Alienation, Adaptation” Rural Sciology 46:2:220-244

 

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