Tool 7 icon

Tool #7 What type of town?

What could our town look like in future?

Rural regions can have towns that are agricultural, service orientated, resource boom towns and lifestyle towns. Variations on these categories have been defined by others studying regional development.  These archetypes can be used to identify what type a region is.  They can also suggest what it might take to shift from one type to another.  For example, can a farming region become a lifestyle region?

Complicating matters, regions – and individual towns - can have elements of more than one type.  For example, a town can be partly a service town and partly agricultural.  Nonetheless, it is good to identify the dominant type. This suggests a critical mass of activity in the town’s economy. 

This tool helps you to:

  •  Learn more about the archetype or ‘type’ of town that you live or work in;
  •  Find similar ‘types’ of towns to use as benchmarks for trends and performance;
  •  See where your town might be heading; what do the trends in indicator data say?

How do I use this tool?

Step 1: Use your indicators (Tool #1).  Identify the main trends that your town is experiencing (Tool #2).  Develop the town’s profile (Tool #3).

Step 2: Click on the most relevant box for each indicator in the table below (for logged in users).  Use the information on trends and observations about the community.  For which column have you clicked the most boxes?  Is the community agrarian, service, lifestyle, or energy boomtown?  What is the closest fit?  Are there any changes happening in the town that might make it look more like another archetype?  

Step 3: Discuss with others the ways that the town is ‘true to type’.  Identify ways that the community differs from the closest archetype.

Step 4: Consider whether the town should optimise its type.  E.g., should it be the perfect agricultural community?  Or, how can it cultivate its assets and opportunities to shift toward another type?  

Step 5: Pay special attention to the ‘social capital’ factors at the bottom of the table.  Our study of energy boom towns suggests that the town asset of ‘social capital’ drops when big changes occur.  

Last updated 13 December 2016
Last reviewed 12 November 2015
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