Dal professor inspired by declining rural populations in the Maritimes is named Fulbright Research Chair for 2012-13
Dalhousie's Dr. Fazley Siddiq, professor of economics in the School of Public Administration, was named a Fulbright Research Chair for 2012-13. He will spend much of the next year at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., working on a comparative study of population trends between Canada and the United States. He is also a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Dr. Siddiq's work was inspired by his concern for the declining population in certain parts of the Maritimes—areas in Nova Scotia outside of Halifax, in particular. While HRM has grown 4.7 per cent in the past five years, Nova Scotia's overall population grew a mere 0.9 per cent, with many counties and communities experiencing significant population declines.
Booming metropolitan areas create a larger tax base and more business activity to help address the challenges of urban growth, but the challenges of shrinking communities are often without easy solutions: lower housing prices, scarce jobs, unsustainable businesses and public sector challenges, all of which build on one another in a spiralling effect.
These trends are not unique to Canada, which is why Dr. Siddiq believes more detailed comparative analysis of both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas in Canada and the United States can illuminate lessons for addressing the consequences of the population shift from rural to urban centres.
“It’s a real tragedy, because the metropolitan/non-metropolitan balance that we’ve had has been altered in a way that’s not desirable. It’s one thing to say that we’re becoming more and more urbanized, a modern industrialized country. Those developments sound positive, and they are in many respects. But behind the mask of that success is a hollowing out of much of the rest of Canada. And if it isn’t happening yet in certain parts of the country, the potential for this trend to get a lot worse is there.” -- Dr. Fazley Siddiq, Professor of Economics, Dalhousie's School of Public Administration
“Our history has been one of an expanding frontier, and economic activity spilling over. That’s why we have the country that we do. But whether we will continue to be able to sustain viable communities, viable populations, in far-flung areas, is something that causes me great concern.” -- Dr. Fazley Siddiq, Professor of Economics, Dalhousie's School of Public Administration
“There is no easy answer. Can we reverse this? I think that would be a very challenging task. So it’s really not so much a reversal of trend, than a slowing down, so that our communities can better adjust. And for that reason, we need effective public policies that are reasonable and balanced, that will create opportunities right across the Province of Nova Scotia, to take us as an example, without compromising on some of the broad elements of economic growth and development.” -- Dr. Fazley Siddiq, Professor of Economics, Dalhousie's School of Public Administration
“The idea of the Fulbright program is to create a broader understanding between citizens of the U.S. and the rest of the world. So I think that by serving as a Fulbright Chair or Scholar is an opportunity for learning that bridges understanding between Canada and the U.S.” -- Dr. Fazley Siddiq, Professor of Economics, Dalhousie's School of Public Administration
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