Jul 20, 2021
Dr. Ken Coates
Future of Rural and Small Communities

Ken Coates is Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan.  His work focuses on the development of strategies to promote 21st century well-being in small town, rural, Indigenous and remote Canada. Ken's major project examines the potential contributions -- and negative impacts -- of emerging technologies on rural and remote communities. 


Rural areas and small towns around the world face formidable challenges.  On a global scale, the rapid growth of urban population has left many areas with fewer young people and often major shortages of workers.  Governments, with their power bases set in the cities, pay less attention to rural regions.  The COVID-19 pandemic has produced a counter-wave, with thousands leaving the cities for work at home opportunities in smaller centres.  Wither rural and small town Canada?  Is the pandemic shift temporary?  Will new working technologies result in people moving to and staying in smaller communities?  The answers are complex, for it is clear that economic restructuring in Canada is changing some of the fundamental elements in rural and small town life, with the quality of the lived experience serving as a core attraction for people with the skills and income to pick their place of residence. Dr. Ken Coates is Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, University of Saskatchewan.  His talk will highlight the forces of change -- and the efforts being made by rural areas and small towns to resist the mass urbanization of the world.