Linking planning and economic development in the revitalization of Medicine Hat's ceramics industry

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Onoferychuk, Eric Andrew
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Canada has entered an age where the "economy" is no longer a local or regional phenomenon, but rather global. Industries in Medicine Hat, Alberta, like those in locations across the western world, are seeking the competitive advantage they will need to survive in the global economy. The purpose of this research is the development of a framework for a sector strategy for Medicine Hat's ceramics industry. This has entailed conducting strategic planning exercises (SWOT analysis and focused interviews), involving representatives from the ceramics industry, and economic development professionals from the local and provincial government. An analysis of Medicine Hat's land use regulations on home based businesses is also presented. Based on these, a detailed understanding of Medicine Hat's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is conveyed as they relate to the ceramics industry. This understanding is used to chart a new course for this industry. The following findings were arrived at as a result of the research: (1) The likelihood of success in today's global economy increases if complementary local industries group together and form business networks. (2) Land use bylaws that regulate home-based businesses should be amended to reflect the important contribution that this type of business makes in the local economy. (3) Medicine Hat's should use its reputation for ceramics excellence to promote all ceramics industry sectors. (4) Medicine Hat's should harness its rich ceramics history to promote ceramics focused tourism. ftn Flexible business networks are listed under Tourism/Cultural Industries because these networks would provide the highest benefit to this sector.