From ‘New Town’ to ‘No Town’ to ‘Source’, ‘Host’ and ‘Hub’ Communities: The Evolution of the Resource Community in an Era of Increased Labour Mobility

Keith Storey


Resources are not ubiquitous and as new sources are developed labour must be made available at the resource sites. Construction of purpose-built resource towns has, until recently, been the usual solution to this problem. While resource towns continue to exist, changes in economic, political, environmental, social and technological factors have influenced the preferences of governments, companies and the resource-related labour force itself regarding the type of settlement option adopted. New resource towns are no longer being built and commute operations and camp accommodations have become the preferred alternative. This has resulted in a much broader spectrum of resource community types, a significantly different geography of resource-dependent communities and a wider and more complex set of development issues that need to be addressed. This paper uses examples from Canada and Australia to outline the evolution of a number of new resource-related community types that have emerged in the past forty years associated with the mining sector and considers some of their key community and regional development implications.

Keywords: commute work; resource-dependent communities; source, host and hub communities

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.