Place Peripheral

Place-Based Development in Rural, Island, and Remote Regions

Kelly Vodden (Editor), Ryan Gibson (Editor), Godfrey Baldacchino (Editor) 

Place Peripheral examines community and regional development in rural, island, and remote locales from a place-based approach. This is a timely edited collection, addressing themes that are receiving considerable attention in Canada and internationally as local communities, scholars, researchers and public policy analysts strive to better understand and apply place-based strategies in rural and remote regions. The volume and its contributors examine place-based economic development strategies, recognizing the broader and deeper significance, meanings, and attachments often associated with place and also interrogating such relationships as may exist between sense of place, cultural and social development, and environmental stewardship.


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Praise for Place Peripheral:

This is a valuable collection of case studies of place-based development in peripheral, island communities from various parts of the world, ranging from Chiloé in Chile to Tasmania in Australia, the Shetland Islands of Scotland, Newfoundland and PEI in Canada, and many others in between. I particularly valued the focus on the role of culture and the arts in local development. A good example is the chapter by Deatra Walsh, which discusses the Newfoundland-based rock band ‘Hey Rosetta!’. I loved her image from  their song ‘Bandages’, which is a reflection on the discovery of human agency by marginalised people: “doctor unbandage my eyes; i feel the light and im ready to be out in it”.


This reflects a key theme in the book – that peripheries are not inevitably destined to remain so, and even in this globalised and centralised world, they do have agency, and can change the lives of local people for the better.  This is partly a question of ‘development imagination’, in which culture, identity and the arts play a key role. But it is also about power; one of the key conclusions of the book is that “local governance and enhanced agency can aid in the pursuit of place-based social and economic development and policy formulation.” Read it, and hear the message!

John Bryden

Emeritus Professor of Human Geography

University of Aberdeen and Research Professor, NIBIO, Norway




Around the developed world, rural and remote regions are struggling with the economic and environmental challenges of the early 21st-century. They often find themselves on both the geographic and metaphorical peripheries of national development debates. When attention is directed their way, it is often limited to enumerations of established economic assets. Those who live, work, and study in these places know, however, that they are so much more. They are special places, full of unique character and possessing rich histories.


Vodden, Baldacchino, and Gibson are each well respected scholars and collectively they bring an experienced, skilled, and passionate interest to the study of rural, island, and remote places. They have compiled an excellent edited volume that breaks open the development dialogue and encourages us to think about cultural assets in place-based development. Through 13 chapters the authors explore the issues that connect people and identities, newcomers and old timers, the arts and education. They explore ways to talk, to collaborate, and to move forward local and regional development initiatives that see the promise, possibilities, and potential of culture in the place-based development of peripheral communities and regions.


The importance and role of a sense of place, the uniqueness that precludes “one-size-fits-all” policy solutions, and the opportunity of building upon a rich past to create an even richer and more sustainable future are core themes that resonate throughout the volume. Place Peripheral fits neatly into the emerging rural and small town literature that supports a place-based approach to building resilient regions and its adds to our understanding of the vital and complex role of culture in that process.


Readers will be pleased to add this volume to their bookshelf, and then to pull it off and put its ideas to work in research, policy, and practice.


Greg Halseth

Professor, Geography Program

Canada Research Chair in Rural and Small Town Studies

Co-Director, Community Development Institute at UNBC

University of Northern British Columbia

ISERBooks. Softcover. Published in 2015. 340 pages. ISBN 978-1-894725-25-5.

$29.95 CAD

Subjects: Atlantic CanadaCulture, Politics, and IdentityGeographyMaritime StudiesNewfoundland and Labrador StudiesSociety and Environment