Yukon 2000: A Community-Based Planning Effort to Preserve “Things That Matter”


  • Bryan T. Downes


In the late 1980s, the Yukon’s New Democratic Party (


NDP) government proved that an essentially community-based process could be used to plan the economic and environmental future of a vast sparsely populated region. The government was successful because the community-based approach was implemented systematically and comprehensively, with considerable effort invested in outreach to communities and citizens, before analyses began and recommendations emerged. The planning process used in the Yukon had two additional essential features: (1) it assumed that community needs had to be met if a quality strategy was to develop; and (2) it emphasized capacity building to increase local self-reliance and innovation. Communities and regions contemplating a decentralized approach to regional strategic planning, involving citizens extensively in the planning effort, can learn from the Yukon’s experience. However, areas with larger populations will have to be creative in developing means, such as those discussed in Weeks (2000) and Bryson and Anderson (2000), to assure widespread citizen and stakeholder involvement. One factor critical to the success of these efforts has been, and continues to be, the catalytic leadership of the Yukon’s Territorial government (Luke, 1998).






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