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The Politics of Where Abstract for Distribution

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This dissertation responds to a single overarching research question: what is the nature and extent of the federal government's influence on urbanization in Canada, both on its systems of cities and on their internal structure? Lessons learned
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  The Politics of Where: The Federal Government and Canada’s Urbanization, 1867-2017 Abstract This dissertation responds to a single overarching research question: what is the nature and extent of the federal government’s influence on urbanization in Canada, both on its systems of cities and on their internal structure? Lessons learned regarding the federal role in Canada’s urbanization remain relevant and applicable to emerging conditions. They offer a sound, streetwise foundation for future urban policy development, based on understanding the vital  politics of where . Large, complex systems of cities are both self-organizing and responsive to strategic guidance by the federal government. Politically-difficult choices among competing urban locations can be made both by hiding selections and by disclosing them according to well-established protocols. These methods ease acceptance of potentially controversial decisions and promote ongoing cooperation amongst local ‘winners and losers’ of successive competitions. Data sources to track long-term urbanization outcomes include: historical Census statistics; Statistics Canada indicators of system outputs and counts of business establishments by location; wealth distribution data; and program data from federal department and agency sources. Operative  politics of where  are revealed by ranking places to assess which benefitted most and least over decades of urbanization, and by finding silences and suppression of locational detail in federal publications. Based on available evidence, the federal government has had a fundamental influence on Canada’s urbanization, even if that influence has often been undeclared. Specifically, named federal powers  in the Constitution have demonstrably accelerated and shaped urbanization processes. Organizations comprising a national community of purpose in urban growth  have supported and implemented a continent-wide system of linked cities. Competing claims  of local growth-promoting coalitions have been managed or denied in  building up this system. Governance arrangements called here executive federalism  have engaged the private sector and other levels of government in federal policy implementation and smoothed competition amongst municipalities. Methods used to make most productive use of competition amongst urban locations have largely succeeded to 2017, but there is a paradox on the horizon. Different  politics of where  are emerging as long-term urbanization processes increasingly diverge between growing and declining regions, calling for clearer declaration of desired outcomes. (343 words) Key Words: Urbanization, urban geography, urban political economy, national urban system, growth machine, infrastructure, immigration, unearned increment, community of purpose in urban growth, National Urban Policy, Laurier, Lithwick, Hellyer, Macdonald, Molotch, Central and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, urban policy evaluation, executive federalism
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