2000 volume 32(6) pages 1083 – 1103
doi:10.1068/a32160

Cite as:
Gill A, 2000, "From growth machine to growth management: the dynamics of resort development in Whistler, British Columbia" Environment and Planning A 32(6) 1083 – 1103

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From growth machine to growth management: the dynamics of resort development in Whistler, British Columbia

Alison Gill

Received 16 September 1999; in revised form 10 January 2000

Abstract. In North America, competition for land has often been conceptualized as being driven by growth machines whereby those with common stakes in development form coalitions of local elites to influence government in pursuit of their goals. The inequitable benefits of growth have been challenged more recently by the introduction of growth-management practices that heighten the role of local residents in land-use decisions. In this paper, the concepts of the 'growth machine' and 'growth management' are applied to an examination of the resort community of Whistler, British Columbia. This approach transforms previous theorizations of resort formation which draw upon Butler's (1980) life-cycle model, by focusing on the social and political dynamics of growth. Whistler is seen to progress through a phase of uncontested growth-machine dominance, to a phase of local contestation that is then moderated by the introduction of growth-management practices. The evolutionary process is seen as a cumulative one in which, over time, social and environmental imperatives are imposed upon the economic imperatives of the growth machine.

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