A Walk through the Countryside

2011-04-14T00:00:00Z (GMT) by John Michels
Highway 11 winds its way through the rural landscape of the Almaguin Highlands in Ontario, Canada. My research explores how a current development project, to be completed in 2012, is expanding the highway, converting it from two to four lanes and bypassing several local towns. I am examining the highway project, along with other changes in the area, in the context of the rise of global policies that promote free markets and free trade and reduced governmental intervention and regulation. In relation to these policies, many rural areas in North America are undergoing a major shift in economic activities from timber, mining, industry, and farming to touristic and recreational consumption - a shift from ‘extractive’ to ‘attractive’ models of development (Luke 2003). This process has recast the countryside from a place of work to a place of leisure (White 1996), and has redefined the ways in which rural land is consumed. I took this photograph while conducting fieldwork in May 2009, and it demonstrates this recasting, where, for a local artist, former ‘extractive’ land now serves as a canvas for his creations.

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