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Approaches to Community Development. Defining Community Development. A group of people in a community reaching a decision to initiate a social action process (that is, planned intervention) to change their economic, social, cultural, or environmental situation. Christenson and Robinson, 1978

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defining community development
Defining Community Development
  • A group of people in a community reaching a decision to initiate a social action process (that is, planned intervention) to change their economic, social, cultural, or environmental situation.
          • Christenson and Robinson, 1978
  • Collective Agency
    • believe working together can make a difference
    • organize to address their shared needs collectively
key qualities of community development
Key Qualities of Community Development
  • Itis always purposive
  • Its purpose is always positive
  • It exists in the efforts of people and not necessarily in goal achievement. Trying is enough to qualify as community development
  • It is structure-oriented
development in vs of the community
Development “In” vs. “Of” the Community
  • Development in the community is principally concerned with building the economic or physical infrastructure of a community.
  • Development of the community is focused on building the human capacity to address local issues and concerns. As such, it affects the structure of the community.
reasons for community development
Reasons for Community Development
  • Expand participation
  • Reaction against some proposed change in the local area that is deemed as having negative consequences on residents’ quality of life
  • Modify severe social, economic or environmental problems in the community
  • Satisfy missing needs or resources
three approaches to community development
Three Approaches to Community Development
  • Technical Assistance
  • Conflict Approach
  • Self-Help Approach
technical assistance characteristics
Technical Assistance Characteristics
  • Usually involves the delivery of programs of services to a local area by some agency or organization
  • It is often a “top-down” approach that involves the use of experts
  • The focus is mainly on the task to be performed
  • Assumes that answers to community problems can be arrived at scientifically
technical assistance characteristics1
Technical Assistance Characteristics
  • If residents wish to participate, they must study and understand a great deal of complex information
  • Local citizens are defined as consumers of such development - not participants in it
  • The most frequent employers of the technical assistance model is government
problems with this approach
Problems with this Approach
  • Local community participation is downplayed due to a greater interest in realizing efficiency rather than access on the part of citizens
  • Some question as to whose values are influencing development decisions; often are guided by middle class values of the government officials and consultants
  • The assisting group does not always have a full understanding of the community
conflict approach
Conflict Approach
  • Primary focus is upon the deliberate use or creation of confrontation by professional organizers
  • The goal is to redistribute power
  • A major organizing tool is to confront those forces seen as blocking efforts to solve problems
  • In this approach, there is a deep suspicion of those who have formal community power
conflict approach1
Conflict Approach
  • This perspective assumes that power is never given away, that it has to be taken.
  • Goal is to build a people’s organization to allow those without power to gain it through direct action. Their strength is in numbers -- people working collectively.
steps in the conflict approach
Steps in the Conflict Approach
  • An outside organizer enters the community, usually at the request of a local group wanting change. Outside person usually informs the local leaders, analyzes the power structure, and assesses what the major problems are
  • The organizer and the local allies seek to build a people’s organization
steps in the conflict approach1
Steps in the Conflict Approach
  • The coalition engages in direct action
    • traditionalpower structure is confronted through direct action involving a large number of people
      • publicity or threat: press conferences, advertising, public hearing
      • action: courts, lobbying, sit-ins, strikes, demonstrations
      • pressure: boycott of goods or facilities
  • People’s organization is then formulized by developing a permanent organizational structure (although not always)
criticisms of this approach
Criticisms of this Approach
  • Maintenance of effort: once problem is solved, hard to maintain commitment
  • Burn-out: key organizers and volunteer staff often become burnt out after their initial organizational efforts
  • Loss of leaders: professional organizer often leave after the issue has been addressed; leaders who remain get tempted to seek local or external positions in government/corporations
  • Finance: hard to keep a reliable source of funds available to support the group’s work
self help approach
Self-Help Approach
  • Emphasis is on process -- people within the community working together to arrive at group decisions and taking actions to improve their community
  • Based on the principle that people can collaborate in a community to provide important needs and services
  • The process is more important than any particular task or goal
in the self help approach
In the Self-Help Approach . . .
  • Want to institutionalize a process of change based on building community institutions and strengthening community relationships, rather than to achieve any particular objective
key features of the self help approach
Key Features of the Self-Help Approach
  • Project is community controlled
  • Local needs are clearly defined and action is initiated by the community
  • Effective leadership and skills are present; effective use of volunteers
  • Good efforts to secure financial resources
  • Significant cooperation and integration of people and organizations in the effort
  • Access to outside support, as needed
  • Self-sustaining enterprises that can spur other community improvement efforts
factors in effective change
Factors in Effective Change
  • Linkages
    • Vertical
      • Limited by cutbacks
    • Horizontal
      • “Lateral Learning”
  • Planning
    • Each approach views planning differently.
community vs economic development
Community vs. Economic Development
  • Community development is much broader than economic development
  • Unlike CD, economic development does not necessarily involve local citizen action, and it may not result in an improvement in the quality of life
  • If economic development is undertaken without much community involvement, than there is no community development
  • Economic development for community development has distinctive features that economic development alone might not have
community vs economic development1
Community vs. Economic Development
  • It seeks to increase the resources for people to meet their needs
  • It encourages the development of jobs, services, facilities, and groups that are needed by the whole community
  • It seeks to reduce inequality
  • It provides for and depends upon local community action and involvement
examples of cd efforts that embody the self help approach
Examples of CD Efforts That Embody the Self-Help Approach
  • Strengthening and expanding the pool of leaders at the local level
  • Facilitating job training and retraining activities
  • Enhancing the capacity of local government officials
  • Providing needed information to help facilitate sound decision making (such as needs assessment, surveys, socioeconomic data)
examples of cd efforts using self help approach
Examples of CD Efforts Using Self-Help Approach
  • Community Asset Mapping
  • Conflict Mediation
  • Public Issues Education