Theses Master's

Planning for Resource-Rich Communities: Learning through Comparisons of Energy Booms and Busts in the American West

New, Callie

Through investigating four resource-rich localities through case studies, this research first seeks to describe how short-term resource extraction projects yielded from technological innovations within the industry (i.e. conversion of uranium into nuclear energy, hydraulic fracturing, and horizontal drilling) have shaped the physical, economic and social landscapes throughout the cycle of boom and bust. Findings suggest that without efforts for long-term job creation, investments made in physical infrastructure, community facilities and housing are without purpose. Holding these realities in mind, the situation of present-day Pinedale, Wyoming and Watford City, North Dakota is explored, as these cases are representative of the newest wave of energy extraction due to the development of hydraulic fracturing. The research then seeks to answer under what condition do these resource-rich areas employ mitigation strategies?

The outcome of these strategies is evaluated in order to conceptualize how small boomtowns might follow a trajectory unlike predecessors. Understanding that diversification is the key these boomtowns’ survival, this research lastly questions to which strategies and at which point in the cycle should public officials channel efforts? The final chapter seeks to make recommendations for how comparable resource-rich communities may begin to re-strategize local authority to ensure environmental protection. Economic development suggestions are made to seek to retain key stakeholders within the oil and gas sector while leveraging the ability to use the industry to create efforts for the promotion of long-term public good in this most recent energy landscape.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Sutton, Stacey Ann
Srinivas, Smita
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 10, 2014