About Us

Across Canada, many villages, towns, boroughs, hamlets and outports need creative approaches to assist their transition from resource-based settlements to diversified, creative economies. We believe that small communities that successfully navigate these transitions will play a pivotal role in redefining Canada’s national cultural identity, as well as its future economic success.

The social, economic, environmental and physical legacy of resource closure can be huge. The solutions are often incremental, individual, uniquely contextual and focused on sustainability. In a word, the solutions are small. They are also highly collaborative. We aim to profile the people and places that are navigating these changes, to connect and facilitate best practices.

small is an independent network of local and national affiliates, often promoting unconventional partnerships to reach new solutions for rural communities, all rooted in unique cultural heritage.  small facilitates the adaptive reuse of landscapes, communities and buildings in order to re-envision the community planning process. small is focused on leveraging cultural heritage values and assets, in order to support liveable communities first. We profile some locally-developed initiatives that characterize these livable communities on this site.

We believe a cultural migration is happening in rural Canada. While original settlement patterns can still be traced across the country, based largely on resource extraction, we now see resettlement patterns emerging. These patterns are based on something quite different. While the ties to the land remain strong, quality of life is the key driver in resettlement. The search for improved quality of life has created a wave of cultural prospectors who are drawn to the cultural heritage of small communities, to sustainable, place-based economies and entrepreneurial, small-scale, community-driven intervention.

The decline of a resource industry affects individual residents, industry groups, regional, provincial or territorial governments, unions, affiliate suppliers, the local service industry – the list goes on and on. Each of these sectors has a role to play in regeneration and the support of livable communities.

The transition from singular usage to a diversified economic model – which remains site-specific – requires a unique method of opportunity identification. It must be sensitive to existing cultural heritage and adaptive reuse, focused on place-based economic models, and have input from residents, businesses, trade groups and governments.

For more about our work, read about our services.