Reconceptualizing rapid energy resource development and its impacts: Thinking regionally, spatially and intersectionally

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Boomtown development refers to rapid economic and demographic change typically associated with energy development and natural resource extraction. Historically, boomtown scholarship has focused on local perceptions, disruptions and/or adaptations to boomtown development or, alternately, has examined such development temporally over the boom-bust-recovery cycle. This paper expands upon these conventional approaches by suggesting a multidimensional reformulation of boomtown development and its impacts by highlighting three emerging discourses and scholarly foci: regional approaches (i.e., the regional characteristics that structure development impacts), spatial approaches (i.e., characteristics of places, including proximity to development activity), and intersectional approaches (i.e., the ways in which intersecting identities and differential social positions shape exposure to development's risks and opportunities). We argue that this multidimensional rethinking can foster more complete understandings of the divergent pathways by which energy development risks, opportunities, and outcomes vary across places, spaces, time, and people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-305
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
StatePublished - May 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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