To understand what is community development, lets learn what is a community First. A Community is a social unit that shares commonalities such as norms, religion, customs, values and identity. Communities share a sense of place situated in either geographical area or in virtual space through communication. Community development is “a process where community members come together to make the entire community stronger.”
According to Matt Brown, Director of Economic Development in Santa Fe, New Mexico, community development directly impacts the quality of life of the residents in a city. Developing a community includes building roads, schools, libraries, building infrastructures that will provide care for the whole community such as hospitals, park, and recreational places. It is also a duty for the members of a community to take care of the children and elderly, ensure peace and harmony and bond together in any crisis or disaster.
Brown thinks education is the most important component of community development because education is just as important to ensure a career or a job as it is important in teaching children to grow up as a responsible citizen, member of a community, building social and emotional skills, encouraging curiosity and passion for learning or developing physical skills and health.
Community Development promotes participative democracy, sustainable development, rights, equality, economic opportunity, and social justice though the organization, education, and empowerment of people within their communities. To combat many social issues.
Best Examples of CD in Action
Scandinavian countries are the best examples of community development at work especially Norway. Norway is on top of many development, equality, tolerance and human rights index. such as,
United Nations Development Program: 2019 Human Development Index, ranked Norway 1st out of 189 countries,.
United Nations Development Program: 2019 Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, ranked it 1st out of 189 countries.
According to The Economist: 2013 Where-to-be-born Index: Norway ranked 3 out of 80 countries.
United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network: 2015 World Happiness Report, ranked 1 out of 85 countries.
These are few of many achievements of Norway in regard of social and community development. They also gained many economic and political achievements. Norway is also one of the few countries that have been able to cut their carbon footprints significantly. The country has switched to renewable energy and pushing SDGs for a better world by helping many third world countries financially.
What is Community Development in the USA:
Social scientist William W. Biddle was one of the earliest proponents of the term Community Development in the States. In the 60s, the term “community development” began to replace the idea of urban renewal. It typically focused on physical development projects in slum areas mostly at the expense of working-class communities. In the late 1960s, philanthropists and government officials started to take an interest in local nonprofit organizations. A pioneer of such organizations was the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in Brooklyn. The organization attempted to apply business and management skills to the social mission of uplifting low-income residents and their neighborhoods. Eventually such groups came to known as “Community development corporations” or CDCs. Beginning with the 1974 Housing and Community Development Act, Federal laws provided a way for state and municipal governments to channel funds to CDCs and other nonprofit organizations.
National organizations such as the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (founded in 1978 and now known as NeighborWorks America), the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) (founded in 1980), and the Enterprise Foundation (founded in 1981) have built extensive networks of affiliated local nonprofit organizations. They help to provide financing for countless physical and social development programs in urban and rural communities. The CDCs and similar organizations have been credited with starting the process that stabilized and revived seemingly hopeless inner city areas such as the South Bronx in New York City. (Source: Wikipedia)