Remote Human Settlements in Developed Nations
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Andrew Taylor, Dean B. Carson, Prescott C. Ensign, Lee Huskey, Rasmus O. Rasmussen and Gertrude Saxinger
Lee Huskey and Andrew Taylor INTRODUCTION In this chapter we compare and contrast the important roles that governments, particularly at the federal level, have played in establishing, growing and providing the economic mainstay for settlements in the sparsely settled regions of developed countries. We discuss the evolution of the economies and populations, the changing functions and the important interplay between population and economy for these ‘primary cities’ in the north, with a focus on Anchorage in Alaska and in comparison to Alaskan regional Arctic settlements. In parts we also compare and contrast Anchorage to the three largest cities in the north of Australia – Cairns, Townsville and Darwin to provide international perspectives. At various points in their histories, each has attracted intensive government interventions for stimulating development, to secure their strategic military and nationalistic values and in response to impacts from major natural disasters. The comparison of Anchorage with smaller regional Arctic settlements helps demonstrate there are differing types of government settlements in northern parts of developed nations. The comparison of Anchorage to large government cities in northern Australia demonstrates the similarity in development pathways, issues, barriers and future challenges for policy makers. GOVERNMENT SETTLEMENTS IN SPARSELY POPULATED AREAS While there are a wide variety of settlements throughout the world’s sparsely populated areas (SPAs), almost all have at some stage relied on government activity for services and infrastructure. This is certainly true of the larger cities that at some point have had governments as their principal economic foundation. In such cities,...
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