Community Development is an active part of many communities throughout the United States. The term has withstood the test of time as the need of for social sound communities is still an essential part of our economy. Through productive community development local governments may build smarter communities and collectively build an economy and produce income. With much faith being lost in government in the past few years it is good to know that citizens may have a hand in developing their community.
What is a Community?
A community is a form of a social system. People involved in this system have similar characteristics and attributes that bind them to a particular community. The members within these social systems are aware of the concerns of the people within the system and have a combined interest in the community. A community is a long-standing body that is expected to continue and prosper. The members within the community normally operate on a volunteer basis and with very little oversight. People within communities are expected to produce goods or services. Geographical locations form communities; those within the described geographical locations are considered to be a part of the community.
Purpose of Community Development
As stated earlier community development is a term that became popular after World War II. Similar to social development, community development focuses on specific issues that the members of the community find to be important. This form of development was designed to allow local governments to identify problem areas in local communities and attack these targets to improve society. Through development citizens of that community are involved with the decision making process. In many cases, it is geared towards building businesses within the community or building the people in the community to become better citizens.
Local CDCs (Community Development Coalition)
To effectively attack these issues many local governments have government funded Community Development Coalitions. These are non-profit organizations that work with the local government to address and fix these issues. These coalitions are geared to the improvement and empowerment of local communities. CDC’s strive to bring positive production to lower-income communities and help to decrease the downward trend in the quality of life. CDC’s are more commonly seen in minority communities that may struggle with poverty issues and crime. The coalition helps to bring about equal justice for its community as well as enhance economic development by education and the development of non-profit organizations.
In addition to the non-profit coalitions, many local governments have a Community Redevelopment department. This department is geared towards fixing the areas of a community that has turned to slums. Although this can be a challenging job governments know the importance of keeping as many of its local communities afloat as possible. Usually governed by a separate board, this agency is charged with rehabilitating areas that may be in slum conditions. A Community Redevelopment Director heads this agency. This department is tasked with drafting a redevelopment plan and finding ways to bring back life through economics shifting and development.
Through local development coalitions and redevelopment departments, citizens may get involved and inform their coalitions or local governments of what the problem areas in their neighborhoods are and what they want to see happen. Knowing the dynamics of your community and what it offers citizens may be able to acquire positive changes.