Talking about community development
People talk about community development in many different ways. Neighbourhood and Community Centre Coordinators have described community development as:
Several uses of Community Development
People use the term community development in many different ways. Three of the principal uses are outlined in the table. They are contrasted with direct service.
The term community development is often used to include A. "community development", B Capacity building/infrastructure development and C. Economic development.
A more detailed model of community development language is here (PDF)
There remainder of this section highlights some points on A."Community development process " and B. The connection with social capital.
A community development process
There are many approaches to community development and many community development definitions. For example:
The West Yorkshire Community Work Training Group
The West Yorkshire Community Work Training Group gives a systematic description of a community development process. The steps in the process are seen simultaneously from the point of view of the group of people in the community development process and the community development worker:
Group: Vaguely dissatisfied but passive.
Group: Now aware of certain needs.
3. Group: Now aware of wanting changes of some specific kind. Worker: Stimulates people to consider what they might do to bring about such changes by taking action themselves.
Group: Decide for themselves to meet some needs.
Group: Plan what to do and how to do it.
Group: Act according to the plans.
Group: Evaluate the result of what they have achieved.
8+ Restart the process.
This community development process could be used with a small group of people, a street, a neighbourhood or a whole community.
Susan Kenny in Developing Communities for the Future: Community
Development in Australia (1994) does not define community development. She discusses the nature of community development in terms of principles and processes. She sees the principles of community development as:
Kenny notes community development has been "identified as: a job or profession in itself; an important component of all human service work; a method or approach in social or economic development; a philosophical and intellectual approach to the world; and a political activity" (p25).
Community Development Outcomes
Community development processes are open-ended and can lead to many different outcomes:
The connection with social capital
Whatever view one has about the nature of community development, it is clear that it is distinct from social capital.
Social capital is a prerequisite for community development processes. Without social capital, community development processes could not operate. There would be no family, neighbourhood and community networks; people would not trust each other; there would not be reciprocal relationships and so on.
Where there is sufficient social capital to support community development processes the community development process will also generate social capital which can then be used in other community development processes.
Community development is one way of producing social capital. There are many other ways and places including workplaces, sporting events, religious activities, schools and carnivals.
Low Social Capital
If there is no or low social capital in the group, neighbourhood or community, it will not be possible for those people to work together for the common good.
If there is no social capital present the causes may be:
Where there is insufficient social capital to support a community development process, the community development worker may need to:
High Social Capital
Where there are high levels of social capital people will:
Community development processes will be much easier to develop with high levels of social capital than with low levels of social capital.