What is community development?

Meaning of Community Development

Community development is a process where agencies support community members to identify and take collective action on important issues.

Community development is a term applied to many different types of activities conducted in communities by people or organizations. Most community development programs are run by non-profit and volunteer groups with a specific set of beliefs or “worldview”. These are not the beliefs of a majority of the world; they are beliefs held by groups in some communities.

Community development is a holistic approach grounded in principles of empowerment, human rights, inclusion, social justice, self-determination and collective action. Community development considers community members to be experts in their lives and communities and values community knowledge and wisdom.

Community development programs are led by community members at every stage – from deciding on issues to selecting and implementing actions and evaluation. Community development has an explicit focus on redistributing power to address the causes of inequality and disadvantage.

Definition and use of community development

The original definition of CD in the US was given by Dr. Henry G. Williams in the 1940s. In his original article “Community Development: The New Way,” Williams said: Today, the CD has evolved into an academic discipline that draws on a variety of fields, including economics, sociology, and social work, and draws on the latest research in urban planning and regional economics, public health and safety, and community organizing.

As CD continues to evolve, it has been influenced by the work of organizations such as the National Community Development Association (NCDA), the International Association of Community Economic Development (IACED), the International Association of Community Economists (IACE), the International Association of Public Health Practitioners (IAPHP), the Community Development Foundation, and others. CD is used in public policy to address various issues, from poverty alleviation to housing development.

The National Community Development Center (NCDC) states that CD is “a comprehensive, integrated and coordinated set of policy, programmatic and administrative strategies, policies and practices that promote and sustain economically, socially, and culturally diverse communities.

CD includes a range of strategies for improving the conditions of low- and moderate-income people, communities, and the environment. These strategies include economic development, health, housing, employment, education, community organizing, and community development leadership development.”

History of community development

Community Development in the early 1900s Community development is linked with the social reform movements that began in the early 1900s. The first major social reform movement was the Settlement House movement, which focused on improving the lives of the working class.

The first major movement focused on housing reform was the Boston Redevelopment Agency, formed in 1937 to provide housing for the poor and low-income people. It is estimated that by the early 1940s, community development began to take hold as more people sought ways to improve their communities. The National Community Development Association, formed in the early 1950s as the National Community Economic Development Association (NCEDA), brought community development more under the spotlight.

“New Neighborhoods and Community Development” – The 1960s and 1970s are considered the “golden era” of community development, due to the increased interest in and understanding of community development. This era began with social scientists and activists calling themselves The New Neighborhoods and Community Development. Their work was published in the book New Neighborhoods and Community Development.

These researchers and activists were the leaders of the new community development movement, and they sought to develop and practice new forms of community development that emphasized economic development.


Community development is an approach to creating healthier, more equitable communities. It is a social action approach to improving social and community conditions by building stronger communities and social networks and strengthening organizations and institutions within and between communities. This approach recognizes the multiple ways in which conditions affect health and the social determinants of health, including the relationship between physical and social environments, social networks, and social needs.

Today, community development can be found in local community development financial institutions, neighbourhood associations, and other local organizations and networks. Community development is also used to describe efforts by governments, international agencies, foundations, and other organizations to meet the basic needs of people living in low-income neighbourhoods or the basic needs and services that many people in low-income areas cannot afford to purchase their own. Examples include subsidized housing, health centres, and community centres. The community development sector is growing globally and has become more common in the Global South.

Leave a Reply

Back to top button