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Demographic instability as a barrier to remote economic development in the north : Are cities the answer?

  • Carson, Dean Bradley
  • Carson, Doris Anna
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
DOI: 10.3390/su13158566
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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Remote and sparsely populated northern peripheries in Australia, Europe and North America experience high rates of population turnover and struggle to recruit and retain popula-tions. There has been discussion about the extent to which their larger urban centres may be key to navigating common ‘boom and bust’ cycles, thus contributing to more stable and resilient demographic and economic development in their jurisdictions. This paper examines the population development in twelve remote northern jurisdictions dominated by a large city, comparing urban and regional growth patterns around periods of economic boom and bust since 1990. It was expected that periods of high population growth would be initially led by regional areas where resource projects are commonly located, but that the cities would ultimately benefit more from high growth periods and suffer less from periods of low population growth. It was also expected that cities would retain key populations better than regions because of a growing global urban preference. Results suggest that regional areas did grow more at the start of high growth periods, but there was no universal experience of higher city growth throughout the two boom and bust cycles. Rather, each city and region had unique growth pattern properties. Cities must not be assumed a priori to be the drivers of demographic development, but attention needs to be paid to what types of cities promote less volatile growth and development potential in the regions.

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