Community Development

What is Community Development?

The International Association for Community Development defines the field thus:

"Community development is a set of practices and methods that focus on harnessing the innate abilities and potential that exist in all human communities to become active agents in their own development and to organize themselves to address key issues and concerns that they share.

"Community development workers may be members of the community, paid workers or volunteers. They work with and alongside people in the community to identify concerns and opportunities, and develop the confidence and energy to respond together. The building of community and social capital is both a core part of the process and an outcome, and in this way there is an extension of cooperative attitudes and practices that are built through community development that can increase community resilience over time."

What is a Community Development Corporation (CDC)?

The most succinct definition of community development corporation comes from the website Community Wealth:

"Community development corporations are typically neighborhood-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporations, with a board composed of at least one-third community residents, that promote the improvement of the physical and social infrastructures in neighborhoods with populations significantly below the area median income. Many CDCs perform a wide variety of roles, including housing, commercial, and retail development, as well as leading community planning, assisting with community improvement programs (improved lighting, streetscapes, and the like) and providing social services. In some cases, CDCs extend far beyond the bounds of a single community to cover an entire city, county, multi-county region, or even an entire state."