Situational Factors and Urban Growth: The Case of Lethbridge and Alberta’s Metropolitan Centres
International Geographical Union, Commission on Monitoring Cities of Tomorrow
The concept of situation, or the relative location of a place, includes two subsidiary components: intermediacy and centrality. Urban boosterism, the promotion of growth in a local centre in competition with other places was typically founded upon intermediacy in an effort to create centrality. Lethbridge, Alberta is presented as a case study to illustrate these different situational factors and show the difficulty of translating a situational advantage into the foundation for sustained growth. In 1938, Lethbridge became one of the key hubs in Western Canada’s embryonic airline transportation system and a critical junction in Trans Canada Airlines’ route system. This new technology seemed to confer an enormous situational advantage, perhaps allowing Lethbridge to challenge the metropolitan dominance of Calgary and Edmonton. Twelve years later the city became host to a federally regulated stockyard which was held to be the key to industrial growth based on the livestock industry. These developments from private and public sector investment were intended to exploit the situational intermediacy of Lethbridge and create situational centrality for the city. Unabashed urban boosterism sought to build on these two apparently unlimited opportunities for the city to modernize, to compete with larger centres, and to take its rightful place on the urban map of twentieth century Canada. In the event, these situational factors proved insufficient for the city to take a more prominent place in Alberta’s urban system.
Permission granted by Editor Dr.Yuji Murayama to include in University of Lethbridge Institutional Repository.
Lethbridge (Alta.) -- Economic conditions , Lethbridge (Alta.) -- Commerce -- History
MacLachlan, Ian 2002 “Situational Factors and Urban Growth: The Case of Lethbridge and Alberta’s Metropolitan Centres” in Monitoring Cities: International Perspectives edited by Wayne K. Davies and Ivan Townshend. (Calgary, International Geographical Union, Commission on Monitoring Cities of Tomorrow): 227-241.