In honor of the upcoming NeighborWorks America Young Professionals symposium, we have collected several blog posts from those under 35 asking their feelings on the meaning of community development. Share your comments on Twitter using #NextGenCD.
|Dani Rosen, NeighborWorks America|
community scholar intern
NFMC Quality Control and Compliance
Unfortunately though, I also came to understand that in many areas the phrase "community development" is used as a disguise for potentially unwanted change in a community in transition. Developers and city officials use the term to smooth over the introduction of out-of-context buildings or large commercial developments that could alter the nature of a specific neighborhood.
I currently understand community development as an investment in a specific area. The investment can be financial, political, or social and the area specified can be a block, a neighborhood, or a metro-area. With the right motives and support community development can make a substantial impact. The strength of community development can best be seen in the depth and breadth of projects and programs available.
|Image courtesy of Creative Commons|
There are countless additional examples of community development addressing other issues at multiple levels of focus. The value of each program rests in the benefits that are brought to the individuals and families involved. Community development has the potential to be a “catch all” phrase but I think that is one of the most important strengths of the field. Because community development includes many different types of investments in a range of geographic sizes, successes are magnified and can be celebrated by the entire field.