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Community Development Core Competencies for Extension Professionals in the North Central Region. Understanding Communities and their Dynamics. Basic Understanding of Community Community Demographics Community Economics Community Power Structure Natural Resources and Sustainability

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Community Development Core Competencies for Extension Professionals in the North Central Region

Understanding communities and their dynamics
Understanding Communities and their Dynamics

  • Basic Understanding of Community

  • Community Demographics

  • Community Economics

  • Community Power Structure

  • Natural Resources and Sustainability

  • Community Situational Analysis

  • Community Development Process

Tim Borich

Learning objectives
Learning Objectives

  • Integrate what has been learned so far into a community development process

  • Learn the the key elements of basic methods of community action

  • - Social Action Construct

  • - Community Visioning & Strategic Planning

  • - Asset Mapping

  • Learn the factors that contribute to successful community development processes

Effective community development
Effective Community Development

  • Effective community development is composed of both:

  • Issues being addressed (content knowledge)

  • Processes to address issue (process knowledge & skills)

  • Community developers have a “toolbox” of tools and techniques to use in various situations.

Community development processes
Community Development Processes

  • Community development processes may focus on:

  • A single, episodic event

  • Comprehensive, multi-issue community approach

  • Extension is called upon for both approaches, including a single aspect of one approach.

Understanding the importance of process
Understanding the Importance of Process

  • There are many factors that contribute to the success of community development initiatives, poor process can lead to only partial success or even outright failure.

  • - Too many meetings without sufficient progress

  • - Too few meetings to generate enough support

  • - Meetings without a clear focus

  • - Poorly attended meetings

  • - People who will make the final decision are not involved

  • - People are unable to find agreement

Community development without a process
Community Development Without a Process

  • Community development without a process would not exist. What would exist:

  • Turf wars

  • Lack of decisions

  • Non-involvement of people

  • Conflict over scarce resources

  • Lack of development

  • Lack of desired outcomes

Community development process provides
Community Development Process Provides

  • Community development processes provide a way for people with very different perspectives, values and interests to come together and to work together to address complex public issues that are held in common.

Effective community development process
Effective Community Development Process

  • Effective community development is more than a particular approach. Rather, it emerges from a rich interaction among complementary approaches that actively and meaningfully engage the community and foster mutually supportive partnerships while focusing on a whole-community perspective.

  • -- Community Development

  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Community Development Processes

Community Organization/Civic Engagement

Various organizing techniques

Data Collection/analysis


Evaluation Indicators

Various problem identification & analysis techniques

Issue Clarification/Goal Setting


Who & how decisions are made

Various techniques to analyze alternatives

Decision making

Alternatives Analysis

Community organization
Community Organization

  • How do you engage people?

  • Capacity building through leadership development programs

  • Community organizing through one-on-one interviewing

  • Stakeholder analysis

  • Other?

Data collection analysis
Data Collection & Analysis

  • How do you bring data and information to the issue to better understand the nature of the issue?

  • Community profile

  • Survey

  • Focus groups

  • Experts

  • Other techniques?

Issue clarification goal setting
Issue Clarification & Goal Setting

  • Is the group clear about the issue? What are the priorities?

  • Group discussion

  • “Lasso” technique

  • Nominal Group technique

  • Focus groups

  • Other?

Alternatives analysis
Alternatives Analysis

  • What are the alternative approaches/solutions?

  • Talk to experts

  • Visit sites, other communities

  • Techniques to analyze various alternatives

    • Force Field

    • Criterion Grid

Decision making
Decision Making

  • Who makes the decision?

  • How will the decision be made?

    • Voting

    • Consensus

  • Is there opportunity for in-put from residents/stakeholders?


  • Who will implement the decision?

  • How will it be implemented?

  • What resources will be needed?

  • How will the resources be obtained?

  • What is the timeline?

  • Who will supervise implementation? (Monitor & revise)


  • What are the intended outcomes?

  • What are the indicators?

  • Who will evaluate?

  • How will the evaluation be done?

  • Who receives the evaluation?

Social action construct
Social Action Construct

  • Developed by George Beal and Joseph Bohlen in the 1960s at ISU

  • Focus is upon maximization of community resources toward accomplishing a specific goal

  • Extension Agent or Community Leader as “Change Agent”

Social action construct1
Social Action Construct

  • .

1. Situational Analysis

2. Problem Identification (Inside community or outside?)

3. Form Initiating Set (First small group

to get things started)

Social action construct2
Social Action Construct

  • 4.Alternative Course of Action

  • Reviewed with Formal and Informal

  • Legitimizers” (Power Actors)

  • 5. Garner Diffusion sets (broader participation)

  • through drawing attention to issue or problem

  • and potential solutions

Social action construct3
Social Action Construct

  • How do you draw attention through “diffusion” techniques?

  • Draw attention to the problem and solicit more participation.

Social action construct4
Social Action Construct

  • 6. Redefine Needs

  • 7. Get Commitments to Action

  • 8. Set Goals to resolve issue/problem

  • 9. Define means to achieve goals

Social action construct5
Social Action Construct

  • 10. Create a Plan of Work

  • 11. Mobilize Resources

  • 12.Launch Program (Don’t Forget Publicity)

  • 13.Implement Action Steps

  • 14.Final (Summative) Evaluation

Strategic planning community visioning
Strategic Planning & Community Visioning

  • Developed during the late 70s and early 80s as applied to community development

  • Unlike comprehensive planning, community strategic planning typically has a shorter time horizon (5-10 years rather than 20 years)

  • Community visioning evolved out of strategic planning in part to spur more creative and long- range ideas and goals.

Comprehensive land use planning
Comprehensive Land Use Planning

  • Comprehensive land use planning – started in 1960’s as a way for a community to look long-term (20 – 30 yrs.) and plan for the use of it’s land and infrastructure needs. Zoning, subdivision ordinances are the legal mechanisms to enforce a comprehensive land use plan.

Strategic planning process
Strategic Planning Process

  • Step 1. Getting Ready

  • (ID participants, info needed, and outcomes)

  • Step 2. Environmental Scan

  • S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)

  • Step 3. Develop a vision

  • Step 4. Agree upon responses and priorities (SWOT) and set goals and objectives

  • Step 5. Write the Plan (Who, what, when, where, how)

Strategic planning
Strategic Planning

  • Typically utilizes a facilitator.

  • Time needed can vary highly.

  • Can be very inclusive or elitist.

  • Who is at the table? (power, and community capitals)

  • Is the community ready? (situational analysis)

  • What data is needed?

  • Will there be consensus on future?

  • Who writes the plan? Who uses the plan?

Community strategic visioning a variation
Community Strategic Visioning: A Variation

  • Focus is upon a future end state – a vision

  • Focus upon looking beyond existing resources

  • Consensus of vision provides direction and greater common sense of a shared future

  • Visioning process can stimulate creativity

New tools for visioning visualization
New Tools for Visioning: Visualization

  • 3-D Geographic Information Systems software

  • Simple Computer Software combined with digital photography

  • “Picture worth a thousand words”

Example project
Example Project

GIS Modeling & VisualizationFort Madison, IA

Creating virtual buildings using modelbuilder
Creating Virtual Buildings using ModelBuilder™

Community viz visioning tools
Community Viz Visioning Tools

Community Visioning Project, 2003- 2004

Rustic Park of Lost Nation, IA



Community Visioning Project, 2002- 2003

Fairfield Waterworks



Asset mapping
Asset Mapping

  • Developed in the early 1990s by John L. McKnight and John P. Kretzmann at Northwestern University.

  • Why focus on problems?

  • Inventory the assets of individuals and organizations.

  • “Needs assessment” can be self-defeating process especially in low-resource communities.

  • Concentrates on optimizing the resources available to the community.

  • Focus upon what the community has rather than what it lacks.

Needs vs assets source bo beaulieu srdc
Needs vs. Assets(Source: Bo Beaulieu, SRDC)

Asset mapping steps source charlie french univ of new hampshire ext
Asset Mapping Steps(Source: Charlie French, Univ. of New Hampshire Ext.)

Step 1

Form a Steering Committee

Step 5

Administer Asset Assessment Tool

Step 2

Commit Resources

Step 6

Develop Resource List

Step 3

Identify your Community

Step 7

Cross Reference Needs with Assets

Step 4

Decide on Inventory Method(s)

Step 8

Identify Opportunities & Mobilize Community

Three Key Arenas for Identifying Community Assets


Formal Institutions



Mapping the assets of people
Mapping the Assets of People

Skills Information

Community Skills

Enterprising Interests and Experiences

Personal Information

Mapping Formal Organizations

  • Every community has institutions that carry out important community functions

  • These are persistent, on-going activities that meet the social needs of local residents

  • The vitality of communities is dependent on these functions being carried out

Formal Organizations







Informal organizations the third vital resource
Informal Organizations:The third vital resource

  • They may be neighborhood-based, community-based, or may extend outside the community’s boundaries

  • Such groups are critical because the involve, empower, and impact local citizens

  • Building a community requires a deliberate effort to identify and involve such organizations

Some Examples of Informal Organizations

Church groups: prayer group, stewardship committee, youth group, service group

Community Celebrations: Annual Fair, Art and Crafts Festival, July 4th Parade

Neighborhood groups: crime watch, homeowner’s association

Sports Leagues: bowling, basketball, soccer, fishing, baseball

Asset mapping conclusion
Asset Mapping (Conclusion)

  • When it comes to community assets… sweat the details.

  • Use community assets as a foundation upon which to build community development

  • Very inclusive.

  • Time Consuming.

  • Works well in low resource communities

  • BUT… are community assets (or capitals) available?

Other models
Other Models

  • Community and multi-community collaboration

  • Appreciative Inquiry

  • Civic Engagement

  • Others?

Elements of effective community development process
Elements of Effective Community Development Process

  • Understanding different perspectives, ideologies, and analysis and working to create a planning, decision making, and action process that reflects the differing needs and goals of each community is part of what is needed to make a community development process work.

Elements of effective community development process1
Elements of Effective Community Development Process

  • An effective community development process…

  • Intentional, strategic and requires advocacy of the process.

  • Links other processes together.

  • Supported by many.

  • Not imposed on people.

  • Residents are meaningful players.

Elements of effective community development process2
Elements of Effective Community Development Process

  • Issues of race, class, culture, and power are always present.

  • Collaboration enriches the work.

  • Conflict should be expected and addressed.


  • Allison, Michael and Jude Kaye (1997) Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations: A Practical Guide and Workbook. John Wiley and Sons: New York.

  • Ayres, Janet, (1990) Take Charge: Economic Development in Small Communities. ISU, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development: Ames IA.

  • Beal, George M. (1966) Social Action and Interaction in Program Planning. Iowa State University Press: Ames IA.

  • Beal, George M. and Daryl J. Hobbs (1982) Social Action: The Process in Community and Area Development. Cooperative Extension Service. Iowa State University: Ames IA. (SOC-16).


  • Byrson, John M. (1988) Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations. Josey-Bass:San Francisco

  • Green, Gary P. (2001) Vision to Action: Take Charge Too. ISU, North Central Regional Center for Rural Development: Ames IA.

  • Kretzman, John P. and John L. McKnight (1993) Building Com-munities From the Inside Out. ACTA Publications: Chicago IL.

  • Rogers, Everett M. (1995) Diffusion of Innovations. The Free Press: New York

  • Walzer, Norman (ed.) (1996) Community Strategic Visioning Programs. Praeger: Westport, Conn.

Web sites
Web Sites





  • (click on publications, go to CD Practice)

Future attractions
Future Attractions

  • Train-the-trainers workshop in Kansas City, November 1-3, 2006 to bring materials/training back on CD process skills.

  • This professional development opportunity will be offered to Purdue staff in 2007.

Future attractions1
Future Attractions

  • North Central workshops will be offered and special interest groups will be formed on various specialization topics:

  • Economic Development

  • Local Government

  • Natural Resources

  • Group Process and Facilitation

  • Organizational Development

  • Leadership Development and Civic Engagement

  • Community Services

  • Workforce Development

Future attractions2
Future Attractions

  • An inventory of community development curricula, materials, and programs within the North Central Region is available on the North Central web site at:


  • This inventory is being revised and will be expanded for Extension staff to add their own information in late 2006.