What is Community Development

Generally speaking, community development is a long term process for empowering community residents and groups, through development of skills, knowledge and experience, enabling them to undertake initiatives that address issues and enhance opportunities pertaining to the social, economic, political and environmental wellbeing of a community.

Human Resources Development Canada defines community development in their “Community Development Handbook” as follows:

Community development is the planned evolution of all aspects of community well-being (economic, social, environmental and cultural). It is a process whereby community members come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems. The scope of community development can vary from small initiatives within a small group, to large initiatives that involve the whole community. Regardless of the scope of the activity, effective community development should be:

  • a long-term endeavour,
  • well planned,
  • inclusive and equitable,
  • holistic and integrated into the bigger picture,
  • initiated and supported by community members,
  • of benefit to the community, and
  • grounded in experience that leads to best practice

For a copy of the community development handbook, visit the following website: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/epb/sid/cia/comm_deve/handbook.shtml