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Keywords:

  • Canada;
  • creative destruction;
  • heritage;
  • historic villages;
  • identity;
  • postproductivism;
  • trial by space

abstract.

Since the 1970s, stakeholders have attempted to revitalize selected rural communities across the developed world. The resulting initiatives have contributed much to the growing multifunctionality of rural space. Geographers have conceptualized this transformation in at least two ways: as a process of creative destruction and as a process of trial by space. In this article we demonstrate the merit of uniting these concepts to enhance our understanding of the evolution of historic towns and villages. We illustrate this unification in a study of Creemore, a picturesque village in the province of Ontario, Canada. Our analysis reveals that the transformation of this locale, from rural service center to heritage-scape, has been fraught with controversy as various stakeholders have struggled to establish a dominant identity. We conclude that unification of these concepts does provide a useful framework for unraveling the evolution of historic communities within rural space.