Service Provision and Rural Sustainability: Infrastructure and Innovation

Event Date and Time


Organizer Contact Information

Munzaleen Sajjad


Access to quality services and community infrastructure are vital parts of supporting sustainable and resilient rural and small town places. A recent edited book has examined the challenges associated with renewing outdated infrastructure and supporting the delivery of services in small communities. By drawing upon contributors from Canada and New Zealand, the webinar explores innovative service and infrastructure delivery models for contemporary rural and small town places.

After a brief introduction by Sean Markey, Sean Connelly will discuss how rural health trusts in New Zealand have been formed in more resilient communities to provide the capacity for communities to take over the operations of health care facilities. However, this is not the case in communities where social capital and resourcing levels are weaker, leaving them at a structural disadvantage. Neil Hanlon will then explore upstream partnerships for primary health care reform in northern British Columbia. These partnerships with community leaders have been developed to achieve support for wellness promotion campaigns and community-based primary health care reform. Laura Ryser will then explore co-location projects to address aging infrastructure for non-profits, local government, schools, and other services in rural BC. Without well developed structures to provide support, advice, resources, and guidance, the development and operations of shared facilities encounter many challenges. Lastly, Greg Halseth will provide some reflections on the strategic policies, planning, and investments needed to support alternative service and infrastructure models.




Sean Connelly is a senior lecturer in the Geography Department at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His research focuses on how communities mobilize resources and build capacity to disrupt the status quo and support regional development.


Greg Halseth is a professor in the Geography Program at the University of Northern British Columbia, where he is also the Canada Research Chair in Rural and Small Town Studies and co-director of UNBC’s Community Development Institute.


Neil Hanlon is a professor in the Geography Program at the University of Northern British Columbia. His research interests include rural health service delivery, community adaptations to social and economic change, and regional health governance.


Sean Markey is a professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University. His research concerns issues of local and regional economic development, community sustainability, and sustainable infrastructure.


Laura Ryser is the research manager of the Rural and Small Town Studies Program at the University of Northern British Columbia. Her research interests include innovative services and infrastructure arrangements, labour mobility and restructuring, and rural poverty.



Greg Halseth, Sean Markey, and Laura Ryser are co-editors on the book “Service Provision and Rural Sustainability: Infrastructure and Innovation”. For more information, please visit:


Thursday February 21, 2019 @ 3:00pm CST

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Questions: Munzaleen Sajjad, 204-721-0484