Community Development in Social Work

What is Community Development?

Social workers in community development can be found in many areas of practice and various settings. The work is often not situated within legislated programs, and workers may or may not be required to be registered with the provincial regulatory body. Community practice can involve community economic development, such as improving local economies in rural areas experiencing outmigration. It can include working with citizens, groups, and organisations to interface with large systems, institutions, and political processes. The identity of "community" varies widely and changes depending on the context of the specific issue or social problem. Social workers who practise from a community development or community organising perspective attempt to address the systemic issues that create social problems. In many cases, they may also be engaged in individual problem-solving practices embodied in many social work positions.

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Community development is a structured intervention that gives communities greater control over the conditions that affect their lives. This does not solve all the problems a local community faces, but it builds up the confidence to tackle such issues as effectively as any local action can. Community development works with local groups and organisations rather than individuals or families. The range of local groups and organisations representing communities at the local level constitutes the community sector.

The concept of community development is coined from two words, i.e. Community and Development. To begin with, a common definition of community emerged as a group of people with diverse characteristics linked by social ties, sharing common perspectives, and engaging in joint action in geographical locations or settings (Kathleen and others, 2001). (According to Driu 2014), the geographical community can be a town, a suburb, or even a small suburb section. There might be a few communities in the same town. There are other times when a town might be only part of a community, such as when the community includes the rural areas outside town or two towns are closely linked. All communities are dynamic in nature. They act, interact, evolve, and change as a result of larger political and economic forces as well as internal and external forces. A community and its meaning might vary with each member's unique understanding. 

Community development is a skilled process, and part of its approach is the belief that communities cannot be helped unless they agree to this process. Community development has to look both ways: not only at how the community is working at the grassroots but also at how responsive key institutions are to the needs of local communities.

Community development is a way of strengthening civil society by prioritising the actions of communities and their perspectives in the development of social, economic and environmental policy. It seeks the empowerment of local communities. Community development should help people recognise and develop their ability and potential and organise themselves to respond to their problems and needs. It supports the establishment of strong communities that control and use assets to promote social justice and help improve the quality of community life. Community development ranges from small initiatives within a small group to large initiatives that involve the broader community.


Scholarly Definition of Community Development by Authors

Community development is a process where community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems. Community wellbeing (economic, social, environmental and cultural) often evolves from this type of collective action being taken at a grassroots level. Community development ranges from small initiatives within a small group to large initiatives that involve the broader community work" (Twelvetrees, 1991: 98)

Hence, community development "is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes participative democracy, sustainable development, rights, equality, economic opportunity, and social justice, through the organisation, education, and empowerment of people within their communities, whether these be of locality, identity or interest, in urban and rural settings" (Taylor and others, 2021). They further said that "Community development is an important component of Extension education. To successfully incorporate community development into their programs, county agents and their supervisors need to be able to recognise and define what is (and what is not) encompassed in community and economic development".

Community development is a group of people in a community deciding to initiate a social action process to change their economic, social, cultural and environmental situation – Christenson et al. (1989).

Community development is a process where people are united with those governmental authorities to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions of communities and communities are integrated into the nation's life, enabling them to contribute fully to national progress. – (United Nations, from Biggs, 1999)

The community development model of community work is concerned with assisting groups in acquiring the skills and confidence to improve the quality of the lives of their members. With the emphasis on promoting self-help by means of education, this model is thought to reflect the "uniqueness of the community."

Characteristics of Community Development

Furthermore, there are characteristics that community development possesses, according to Driu(2014), that make it distinctive, and these include.

1) Community Development is about people's active involvement in the issues that affect their lives. It is a process based on sharing power, skills, knowledge, and experience.

2) The Community Development process is collective. Still, the experience of the process enhances the integrity, skills, knowledge, experience, and equality of power for each individual involved.

3) Where Community Development takes place, certain principles are central to it. The priority of the Community Development process is the empowering and enabling of those who are traditionally deprived of power and control over their common affairs. 

4) It claims as important the ability of people to act together to influence the social, economic, political, and environmental issues which affect them. Community Development aims to encourage sharing and create structures that give genuine participation and involvement. 

5) Community Development is crucially concerned with the issues of powerlessness and disadvantage. As such, it involves all members of society and offers a practice that is part of a process of social change. (Driu, unit 1: 1.15)

Summarily, effective community development must be "well-planned, inclusive and equitable, initiated and supported by community members, a long-term endeavour, holistic and integrated into the bigger picture, of benefit to the community and grounded in experience that leads to best practices". (Olajide O. O.).


Objectives of Community Development

Having stated the characteristics of community development, as known that every field of profession and study has objectives behind them; the following are the objectives of community development as also highlighted by Driu;

a) Community Development seeks to enable individuals and communities to grow and change according to their own needs and priorities and at their own pace, provided this does not oppress other groups and communities or damage the environment.

b) Community Development seeks to enable individuals and communities to grow and change according to their own needs and priorities and at their own pace, provided this does not oppress other groups and communities or damage the environment.

c) Community Development should seek to develop structures that enable the active involvement of people from disadvantaged groups, particularly people from Black and Minority Ethnic groups. 

Also, according to Enugu and. Oyitso (2005), cited by Olajide, the objectives of community development are

1. To contribute to the process of building democracy and human development.

2. To promote the human development of the groups with which it works.

3. To promote the popular sectors in developing and reinforcing social and political awareness and make community members become conscious protagonists of their lives.

4. To promote popular culture and education and assert the values and attitudes required to change and develop locally and nationally realities.

Summarily, community development is both a practice-based profession and an academic discipline geared towards allowing all community members and developmental agents to come together as a collective body to take actions and "generate solutions to a common problem."


Components of Community Development

Community development covers a wide range of activities and programmes. These differ from one community to another and depend on the priorities, issues, plans, problems and solutions of a society. The following are the significant components of community development:

Þ    Active participation against unhealthy social taboos and social isolation
Þ    Development of self-esteem, sympathy, empathy and confidence building
Þ    Creative thinking and practical action
Þ    Social adjustment and mutual support
Þ    Involvement in the theory and practice of community development
Þ Mobilising funds to meet emerging needs
Þ    Identification of priority areas by the community.

Types of Community Development Programmes

They are classified into three types.

a) Integrated-type: It has a countrywide scope and emphasises technical services' development and coordination. Based on the need of people, the objectives are set. The relevant departments and programmes are incorporated into the programmes and implemented through a readily available department to achieve these objectives. This department coordinates the efforts of both Governmental and non-Governmental organisations at every level. In some cases, new administrative areas are created into the traditional ones to coordinate technical services closer to people.

b) Adaptive type: It was designed to be countrywide, emphasising community organisation self-help and involves a change in government administrative organisations. They can be attached to any department and adjusted to the prevailing administrative organisation of government.

c) Project type: These are of geographical scope, emphasising development. They cannot be implemented without the interference of local Government Organizations.


Values of Community Development

Community development is fundamentally based on the values of human rights, social justice, equality and respect for diversity. The principles which underpin its practice are: Self-determination – people and communities have the right to make their own choices and decisions.

  1. All people have basic dignity.
  2. People have the right to participate in decisions that affect their current and future well-being.
  3. Participatory democracy is the superior method of conducting the civic business of the community.
  4. People have the right to strive to create an environment they desire.
  5. People have the right to reject an externally imposed environment.
  6. Maximising purposeful interaction and dialogue within a community will increase the potential for learning and development.
  7. Implied within a process of purposeful interaction is an ever-widening concept of community.
  8. Every discipline and profession is a potential contributor to a community development process. 
  9. Motivation is created through interaction with the environment. 


Principles of Community Development

Community development is a holistic approach grounded in principles of empowerment, human rights, inclusion, social justice, self-determination and collective action (Kenny, 2007).

  1. Self-help and self-responsibility are required for successful development.
  2. Participation in public decision-making should be free and open to all citizens.
  3. Broad representation and increased breadth of perspective and understanding encourage effective community development.
  4. Methods that produce accurate information about the community are vital to the process.
  5. Understanding and the general agreement is the basis for community change.
  6. All individuals have the right to be heard in open discussion, whether in agreement or disagreement with community norms, and the responsibility to respect opposing viewpoints.
  7. Trust is essential for effective working relationships. 

11 Types of Community Development Projects

Ø  Child development programmes
Ø  Adolescent development programmes
Ø  Youth development programmes
Ø  Women development programmes
Ø  Welfare of the senior citizens
Ø  Health and family welfare programmes
Ø  Family life education
Ø  Agricultural and allied activities
Ø  Co-operative Service Society
Ø  Education
Ø  Communication


Characteristics of Effective Community Development

ü  A long-term endeavour
ü  Well-planned
ü  Inclusive and equitable
ü  Holistic and integrated into the bigger picture
ü  Initiated and supported by community members
ü  Benefit to the community
ü  Grounded inexperience that leads to best practices


Process of Community Development

Community Development is a process in charge of bringing about social change. People were not interested in planning and development activities before the launch of this program. They are uninterested in researching their problems. People developed an interest in their issues and studied them collectively once this movement was launched. In this sense, community development is a process that results in socioeconomic changes at the social and psychological levels. It is also referred to as a grassroots process.

o   Become more responsible
o   Organise and plan together
o   Develop healthy lifestyle options
o   Empower themselves
o   Reduce poverty and suffering
o   Create employment and economic opportunities
o   Achieve social, economic, cultural and environmental goals

Community development seeks to improve the quality of life. Effective community development results in mutual benefit and shared responsibility among community members. Community development encompasses neighbourhood planning, citizen participation, grassroots organising, housing, economic development, social welfare, public safety, health, education, recreation, the environment and other aspects of community life. Community development is distinct from different types of urban planning in two respects. First, community development views the urban planning process as transparent and driven by the general public. Second, community development strives to create an urban milieu centred on enhancing the quality of life for residents.

Community development is based upon the belief that people can work together to shape their own destiny if allowed to participate in a free, open and non-threatening environment. Community development is not easy and requires people with specific knowledge and skills to facilitate the process. It is a process through which people develop the ability to collectively help themselves and reduce reliance on external resources. It includes a set of steps to guide problem-solving, program planning and task completion. Community development practitioners subscribe to a basic process but with minor differences.

The practice of community development is about process and outcomes. Both are equally important, and one should not be favoured over the other. Without a strategy, the desired results may be diminished or unrealised. Without successful results, the process can be devalued or abandoned. Thriving communities understand the role and contribution of each.

Seven Process of Community Development


1. Establish the Organizing Group 

2. Create a Mission Statement 

3. Identify Community Stakeholders 

Do we create a new organisation or use an existing one? 

Who will lead the charge? 

Do we need a professional developer? 

What is our mission? Who are the stakeholders?


4. Collect and Analyse information 

What information do we have, and what do we need?

Who can analyse the information and use it to describe the condition of the community and engage the public?

Is the data complete, accurate, valid and reliable?


5. Develop an Effective

Communications Process

How will we obtain input from citizens?

How will we keep citizens informed about the process?

Are all available methods used, especially those that reach disenfranchised citizens?

How can local media be involved?


6. Expand the Community Organisation

7. Identify the Leadership and Establish a Plan

8. Create a Vision Statement

9. Create a Comprehensive Strategic Plan

Who else and what other groups need to be included?

What is the shared vision of the stakeholders for a common future?

What goals and objectives are required to achieve the vision?

Who will champion and lead the effort?


10. Implement the Plan What activities will produce early results?

What activities will be prominent?

What activities are most popular among citizens?

What activities can be accomplished with few resources?

What will build/sustain momentum?


11. Review and Evaluate the Planning Outcomes

How often will the plan be reviewed, and are "plan, do, check, and adjust" elements built into the process?

What is working, needs to be changed, eliminated or added?

Have community conditions changed?


12. Celebrate the Successes How can we publicly celebrate success?

What should we do periodically and annually to celebrate?

How do we recognise the efforts of citizens?

How do we assure that all stakeholders of all generations are included?

What activities will continue the momentum?

13. Create New Goals and Objectives as Needed

What goals were expressed by citizens not included in the original plan?

Can these be incorporated as new goals and objectives?

How can fresh input be gained to keep the plan relevant?

Are resources adequate for continued work?


Approaches of Community Development

There are numerous perspectives on community development. While some are concerned with the processes occurring inside communities, others are concerned with the outcomes/objectives. Among these strategies are the following:

a) Involvement in the community. This strategy focuses on enabling understanding and the flow of information to generate social capital and improve social outcomes through a decision-making process.

b) Self-help group for women. It focuses on women's contributions to community development.

b) Strengthening Community Capacity. It aims to assist communities in acquiring, strengthening, and retaining the capacity to create and achieve their own development objectives.

d) Capacitation of large groups. This approach is related to adult education and the development of social psychology. It aims to increase the activities of large numbers of unemployed or semi-employed persons, many of whom have Low Literacy Levels (LLL).

e) The formation of social capital. A strategy that emphasises collaboration between individuals and large social groups.

f) Direct nonviolent action. This type of action aims to expose an existing social problem, highlight an alternative, and provide a viable solution. Economic development aims to advance emerging countries to improve community members' economic, political, and social well-being.

g) Community-driven development (CDD), a method of economic community development that shifts the emphasis away from central government action and local communities.

h) Asset-based community development (ABCD) is a strategy that focuses on a community's strengths to ensure its long-term stability.

I) Sustainable development aims to balance economic development, community development, and environmental protection.

j) Faith-based community development has been shown to improve community development through the use of faith-based communities.

k) Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is a research method in which community people and researchers collaborate to study community life and problems. All parties are expected to provide expertise, integrate, and share their knowledge to facilitate and improve decision-making.

L) Community organising is a strategy based on the premise that social change requires conflict and struggle and may be used to develop collective power for the powerless.

M) Community-based planning is a type of participatory planning. This strategy entails including the community in the strategic and management social planning processes at multiple urban or rural social life levels.

N) Development based on language or language revitalisation. This method is centred on using language as a tool for community service. This entails the creation of books, films, and other media to aid in the development of a community's culture.

Theories of Community Development

Community Development and System Theory

Tamas (2000) and Cook (1994), cited by Dinababo (2003), refer to community development as a very complex activity, and there are so many elements involved that it seems almost impossible to describe development in a clear and organised manner. However, Tamas (2000) argues that although it is indeed a very complex field, a method can be used to identify many of the components and processes involved in this work. This way of organising information has been called "system theory". Tamas also indicated that some of the critical concerns of community development, such as understanding the dynamics of inter-group relationships and considering the changes involved in planning development activities, can be clearly described using system theory. Bertalanffy (1968) noted that system frameworks have several advantages in descriptions, explanations, predictions, and prescriptions and searching out relationships and patterns of interactions.

Theories of participatory approach/humanistic approach

According to Waishbord (2001), participatory theories criticised the modernisation paradigm because it promoted a top-down ethnocentric and paternalistic view of development. They argued that the strategic model proposed a conception of development associated with a western vision of progress. The top-down approach of persuasion models implicitly assumed that the knowledge of governments and agencies was correct and that indigenous populations went either ignorant or had incorrect beliefs (Cypher & Dietz, 1997; Weyman & Fussell, 1996 (Dinbabo, pg. 8)

For participatory theorists and practitioners, development required sensitivity to cultural diversity and other specific points ignored by modernisation theorists. The lack of such sensitivity accounted for the problems and failures of many projects (Coetzee, 2001). The main essence of participatory development theory is the active involvement of people in making decisions about the implementation of processes, programs, and projects, which affect them (Slocum, Wichhart, Rocheleau, & Thomas Slayter, 1995). Participatory development approaches view "participation" as exercising people's power in thinking, acting, and controlling their actions in a collaborative framework. (Dinbabo, pg. 9). According to the belief of participatory development theory, the answer to the problem of successful third world development is not found in the bureaucracy and its centrally mandated development projects and programs but rather in the community itself. This needs its capacities and control over its resources and its destiny (Korten, CM, 1986). (Dinbabo, pg. 9).


Rationale and Principles of Participatory Approach

In this context, the Chinese philosopher, Lau Tse, argues that the principles of the participatory approach include (Dennis, 1997 and Dinbabo, 2003):

  1. Inclusion - of all people or representatives of all groups who will be affected by a decision or a process - for example, a development project.
  2. Equal partnership - recognising that every person has a skill, ability, and initiative and has an equal right to participate in the process, regardless of their status. 
  3. Transparency - all participants must help to create a climate conducive to open communication and building dialogue. 
  4. Sharing power - authority and power must be balanced evenly between all stakeholders to avoid the domination of one party. 
  5. Similarly, all stakeholders have equal responsibility for decisions made, and each should have clear responsibilities within each process. 
  6. Empowerment - participants with special skills should be encouraged to take responsibility for tasks within their speciality. Still, they should also encourage others to also be involved in promoting mutual learning and empowerment. & 
  7. Cooperation - is vital; sharing everybody's strengths reduces everybody's weaknesses.


13 Steps for Initiating Community Development

Each community has unique characteristics, making it different from other communities. The differences may include availability and utilisation of resources, culture, attitude, behaviour and social development needs. The following are the significant steps for initiating community development.

Step 1: Goal setting: Goal setting is the first step in initiating community developmental activities. It comes before planning and implementation. DURING GOAL-SETTING, the CDW should consider the community's socio, economic, cultural, and demographic aspects. In addition, they should also look at the availability of resources like manpower, planners, and implementers. The goal should be "simple" in nature.

Step 2: Understanding the people in the community: Before planning and implementing a community development programme, it is essential to learn about the people in the community. You can do this by finding out the following information:

ü  Their needs,
ü  Educational levels and requirements,
ü   Cultural and religious compositions,
ü  The problem and issues they face,
ü  Their history,
ü  Political setup and political leaders
ü  Attitude of the society,
ü   Issues relating to health,
ü  Quality of life,
ü  Socio-economic situation,
ü  Employment opportunities,
ü  Availability of co-operative sectors,
ü  Self help groups

Step 3: Identify the opportunities, problems and issues on community development: The information you gather about the community will also help you identify the opportunities, problems and issues related to community development. It is vital to list them before planning and implementing developmental activities.

Step 4: Prioritise issues and problems: Once you prepare a list of topics and cases in the community, the next step is to identify the ones that need to be tackled first. This should be done in consultation with the community. The issues that demand urgent attention should be addressed first. Thus, prioritising the needs and problems of the community according to their necessity and urgency is an essential step in community development.

Step 5: Resource mapping: Once you have identified and prioritised the needs and issues, the next step is resource mapping. What is resource mapping? It identifies all the available resources, such as manpower, material and finance, required for particular development plans. It is essential to analyse the quality and quantity of each resource and how it can be used to address community development needs.

Step 6: Plan and prepare the activity: Once the goals have been set, the needs identified, and resources mapped, the CDWs should plan and organise activities to achieve the goals. They can do this with the help of social workers, decision-makers, policymakers, implementers and organisers, who are supposed to play an active role in the planning and preparing of community development activities.

Step 7: Prepare the Design for implementation: This process will help the planners and implementers to understand the theory and practicability in implementing the activities/programmes. Particular focus is given to the implementation strategies while preparing the design. Environment creation, resource support and people support will become part and parcel of the design.

Step 8: Prepare Time and cost estimates: Time and cost estimates are two essential aspects you should consider when planning and implementing community development activities. A reasonable timeframe should be given for each sub-activity and main activity. The cost estimate should be prepared carefully, and you can seek help from people who have the expertise and experience. By utilising community support and other resources, the cost of implementation can be reduced to the maximum.

Step 9: Implementation of community development activities and programmes: After planning, preparing activities, designing and preparing your work plan and budget, the next step is implementation. This step aims to tackle the priority problems and issues you have identified. This requires effective coordination and preparation of the essential activities in implementation. The process of performance should be systematic, scientific and time-bound.

Step 10: Documentation of the activity: Documentation simply means creating a record of all the processes involved in the programme, from the beginning to the end. You should remember to document the successes and challenges of the programme as clearly as possible. This will be circulated to community people and experts for collecting feedback and opinion. It will help you get the people's support and develop a positive attitude among community members.

Step 11: Monitoring: Monitoring is another essential step in community development. During monitoring, you continuously track the progress of the activities you are implementing to ensure that they are going as planned. Monitoring enables you to analyse the challenges and successes of the activities you are implementing to take corrective measures in good time. Monitoring involves the following tasks:

  1. Recording what is happening as well as what is not happening
  2. Checking or observing the activities
  3. Collecting facts and figures on activities and results
  4. Assessing whether implementation is going in the right direction or is achieving the desired results.

Step 12: Evaluation: Evaluation allows you to judge a project's achievements. It measures how well the program's activities have met its aims, goals, and objectives. Proper evaluation demands:

  1. Accuracy and attention,
  2. An external – outside agency, the external evaluation is nothing but the review carried out by someone not directly involved in the process implementation.
  3. The internal– implementing agency, the evaluation carried out by some from the actual project team.

Step 13: Recycle the planning and implementation processes: The feedback you receive from monitoring and evaluation. During this step, you use data from monitoring to address those activities that need adjustment to achieve the intended outcomes. Similarly, you use data from evaluation to help you improve the design, planning and implementation of subsequent programmes.


Six Steps of the Community Planning Process

1. Gather Up Information, Called Data, And Maps:  The first step in preparing neighbourhood plans or any other community planning process is collecting information, including neighbourhood demographics.

2. Analyse The Planning Information You Have Collected: You can do this; you do it all the time at your house. You layout all your bills and your pay stubs and figure out what it means to you. It's the same with the community planning process.

3. Set Some Tentative Community Goals: This is where the community planning process begins to bring folks an actual road map for the future. By this point, your community engagement strategy needs to be well underway. It's really not important what some outside force thinks the community's goals should be. What real people think means everything.

4. Generate Community Choices And Develop Alternative Scenarios: The alternatives step is hard for most do-it-yourself groups because you think you know the answers by now. See if you can discipline yourselves to spend about an hour thinking up alternative ways to reach your goal or goals.

5. Make A Written Plan! Solidify it with the description and analysis that led you to these conclusions, a description of the community planning process you followed and who was involved, the alternatives you considered, and why you chose the one you did.

6. Think Through The Plan Implementation And Whether It Should Be Divided Into Phases: I have to include this because too many plans just stop after reciting some data and a narrative, map, or rendering of the future. Don't let this happen.


Roles of Community Development (Worker)

Currently, few positions are explicitly named "Community Developer". It is increasingly more common for managers and employees in various settings to be expected to take a community development approach to their work. There are many opportunities for anyone involved with community members to incorporate a community development role into their practice.

A community developer may take on various roles, and s/he works with the community. However, in all the functions, the worker always respects the autonomy and self-determination of the community members and does not impose an externally directed agenda upon them. Their work conforms to professional standards and ethics and is comprehensive and systematic in its approach.

The roles commonly ascribed to community development workers are enablers, guides, technical experts, and liaisons in community development literature.

  1. Guide: As a guide, the worker helps the community identify their goals and find the means to achieve them.
  2. Enabler: The worker can enable the community in a variety of ways. S/he might facilitate a problem-solving process with the community, including helping them articulate dissatisfaction and identify their causes. The worker could also help them organise and plan their activities and encourage positive interpersonal relationships. The enabler role is most associated with locality development strategies.
  3. Technical Assistant: This "expert" role is most associated with social planning. However, in all forms of community development, there is usually some need by the community to access technical support in areas such as community assessment, media relations, accessing information or project development.
  4. Liaison/Advocate: Depending on the nature of the community and the type of community development initiative it has taken on, the worker may need to assume a liaison or advocacy role. S/he may be the intermediary between the community and other bodies such as government, institutions or other community factions. The community may ask the worker to present their views, access information, or negotiate an agreement.
Positive change in the community is driven by many factors and is best accomplished through a holistic approach to organising, planning and implementing change. The professional community developer must be skilled in ways and means to identify and organise local leadership, engage the public, identify critical issues, plan strategically, and implement an action plan. This can include community assessment, strategic planning, organisational development, leadership development, economic development, public and private development financing, land use planning, and research (Vincent 2006). The professional must be able to motivate people and facilitate an environment where people take ownership of their community and are empowered to help themselves. 

This knowledge must be grounded in the theoretical frameworks of community development values, beliefs and principles so that the reasons for doing things a certain way make sense. For example, the need to include all stakeholders in the community in the visioning process is much easier to understand and embrace when one understands the belief that "people have the right to participate in decisions that affect them and the right to strive to create the environment they desire."

Community developers do not promote specific programs, remedies, or actions. Instead, the community developer focuses on the processes that increase civic capacity, open doors for increased citizen participation, and develops in people the ability to give purposeful direction to their own future.

Importance of Community Development

Community Development emphasises self-help, mutual support, the building up of neighbourhood integration, the development of neighbourhood capacities for problem-solving and self-representation, and the promotion of collective action to bring a community's preferences to the attention of political decision-makers.

Community development is essential because it serves as the foundation upon which a city can build to improve the lives of its citizens. It builds strong, diverse communities capable of attracting and retaining talent, starting and growing businesses, and overcoming challenges. Citizens will be happier, healthier, and wealthier, living longer lives. Companies will have a more extensive customer base from which to sell their goods and services, and the city will earn tax revenue to support essential programs and reduce debt.

When community development is effective, there is less crime, less disparity among citizens, more jobs available, a more talented workforce, and fewer overall issues affecting residents. Community development does not necessarily solve problems in cities; instead, it reduces issues and expands growth opportunities. Both economic and business development suffer significantly in the absence of community development.

Community development helps build community capacity to address issues, take advantage of opportunities, find common ground, and balance competing interests. It doesn't just happen – capacity building requires both a conscious and a conscientious effort to do something (or many things) to improve the community. It recognises:-

  1. the connection between social, cultural, environmental and economic matters;
  1. the diversity of interests within a community; and 

  1. its relationship to building capacity.
Community Development is a wide and important subject. It can be defined as a continuous process through which community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to their common problems. Community development ranges from small initiatives within a small group to large initiatives that involve the broader community. Community development produces self-reliant and self-sustaining communities that mobilise resources to benefit their members.

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