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Community Development 101

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1 Community Development 101
Bo Beaulieu, Purdue Center for Regional Development Rachel Welborn, Southern Rural Development Center

2 Defining Community Development
A group of people in a community reaching a decision to initiate a planned intervention to change their economic, social, cultural or environmental situation. -- Christenson and Robinson, 1978

3 Development “In” vs. “Of” Community
IN: Building the economic or physical infrastructure of a community (bricks & mortar approach) OF: Building the human capacity to address local issues and concerns; alter the structure of the community in terms of engagement

4 Reasons for Doing Community
Expand participation React to proposed changes that are deemed to have potential negative consequences for the community Improve serious severe social, economic or environmental problems Satisfy missing needs or resources

5 Three Approaches to Community Development
Technical Assistance Conflict Approach Self-Help Approach

6 Technical Assistance Approach
Involves the delivery of programs or services Involves “top-down” use of experts Focuses on the task to be performed Assumes the answers needed are scientific Requires residents to understand complex information to participate Defines local citizens as consumers Is often used by government

7 The Conflict Approach Focuses on deliberate use of confrontation by professional organizers Has the redistribution of power as its goal Involves confronting the forces that are blocking efforts to solve problems Fosters suspicion of those who have formal community power Assumes power is never given away, that it has to be taken

8 The Self-Help Approach
Encourages people within the community to work together Employs collaboration to provide important needs and services Emphases the process above the task or goal

9 Comparing CD Models

10 Two Examples of “Self-Help” Approaches to Community Development

11 Asset-Based Community Development: Four Key Arenas
People Voluntary Associations Physical Resources Background: This information is adapted from a volume by John Kretzmann and John McKnight titled, Building Communities from the Inside Out. Published in 1993, this book helped launch the growth of the asset-based community development movement in the U.S. and in a host of countries across the globe. It remains a highly respected and accepted process that remains relevant for communities of all types – rich or poor; urban or rural; demographically diverse or not; growing or declining, etc. This slide introduces the basic framework for doing asset mapping. Simply put, we seek to discover the capacities of individuals, voluntary associations, local formal institutions and the breadth of physical resources that exist in the your community. _________ “The assets that exist in a community can be discovered in four important arenas: People Voluntary Associations Local Formal Institutions The Area’s Physical Resources Let’s explore a bit more detail on each of these in the next few slides Local Formal Institutions Source: Kretzmann & McKnight (1993)

12 Assets of People Talents and skills of people in your community
People in key positions with access to important resources “Successful communities seem to find a way to get people involved in local improvement activities. The Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) Approach argues that many local people who have skills and talents can be mobilized to help carry out the activities necessary to achieve your local goals. What you have to do is take the time to identify the visible as well as the more hidden assets of local people. Certainly, the most obvious assets are among those who serve in important positions in the local area such as business, education, and government leaders. Others, because of their family history or reputation, are seen as influential people. At the same time, we have a sizable number of local people whose skills and talents are rarely, if ever, mobilized for the purpose of helping improve their communities. The ABCD Approach reminds us to tap both traditional and nontraditional ‘people’ resources to take an active part in your local initiatives.”

13 Voluntary Associations
Rely on regular or occasional volunteers Have few, if any, paid staff Have autonomy from the state Are usually self-governed by a board of unpaid individuals Tend to be not-for-profit organizations Provide a benefit or service to non-members “Let’s define what is meant by voluntary associations: Voluntary associations represent groups that work together on matters of shared interest. Some of the common features of voluntary organizations are outlined in our slide: Rely on regular or occasional volunteers Have few, if any, paid staff Have autonomy from the state Are self-governed by a board of unpaid individuals (usually) Tend to be not-for-profit organizations Provide a benefit or service to non-members Certainly, voluntary groups can help promote the betterment of any neighborhood or community. And it’s often through these types of groups that people are first willing to contribute their time and skills to worthy causes.” Source:

14 Local Institutions Formal organizations that . . . Provide programs, facilities and services to meet needs of residents. Carrying out functions vital to long-term community sustainability. Influence the vitality of a community by their presence and strength Include family, education, economic, health, political/governmental, and religious institutions. “It’s not always easy to figure out what we mean by ‘local community institutions.’ They are formal organizations that carry out, on an ongoing and persistent basis, activities that are address important needs of local residents. Having strong local institutions can help communities survive and thrive. When local institutions are weak or absent, the vitality of a community can be jeopardized. Such institutions such as the family, education, economy, political, health and religion are key to ensuring the key functions of a community are performed.” Source: Etzen and Baca-Zinn, 2001;, 2006

15 Physical Resources Natural & Human-Made
Water and land-related amenities Vacant and underused buildings Historical & cultural sites Recreational facilities & parks Educational centers Health-related structures Roads & transportation systems “The physical resources asset mapping arena includes a variety of resources, both natural and human-made. A few of these are listed on the slide such as water resources (rivers, lakes, oceans), land areas (farms, mountains, forestlands), and sites of historical or cultural importance. Vacant and underutilized buildings are also included. From the ABCD perspective, these vacancies are not eyesores in a community, but assets that can be used for new and innovative purposes. Finally, important educational and health-related structures are viewed as critical assets. What other types of physical resources are in this community that you feel are relevant to your work?”

16 The Community Capitals Framework
“Now that we’ve explored the four areas of local assets, we want to examine a second important framework that focus on ‘community capitals.’ Developed by Cornelia and Jan Flora from Iowa State University, the framework suggests that the lifeblood of any community is shaped by the availability and strength of seven types of capitals. These capitals are resources that can be invested or utilized for positive purposes (Jacobs 2007). Sources: Flora & Flora (2008); Jacobs (2007)

17 The Seven Community Capitals
Natural Cultural Human Social Political Financial Built A Vibrant Community “The seven capitals are: Natural, Cultural, Human, Social, Political, Financial, and Built Capitals Why should we even care about the seven forms of capital in a community? The reason is pretty straightforward. Research has shown that places that invest and strengthen these capitals help contribute to vibrant communities, including the development of a high quality of life.”

18 Defining the Capitals Capitals Definition Natural
Quality & quantity of natural & environmental resources. Cultural Values, norms, beliefs & traditions; includes historic material goods Human Education & skills of residents; learning opportunities; programs that build local leadership. Social Connections among people & organizations; links inside & outside of the community. Political Ability to influence & enforce rules and regulations. Access to influential people in government positions; level of citizen engagement. Financial Financial resources available for development efforts. Built The infrastructure of the community – facilities, services, roads, physical structures. “Let me quickly review the definition of each of the capitals as you follow along on the handout that provides a bit more information about each of the seven capitals. One thing worth noting is that the biggest payoff for a community occurs when you strengthen as many of these capitals as possible, creating increased synergy. On the other hand, if the capitals are working at cross purposes (or are not in synch with one another), progress is going to be pretty hard to achieve.”

19 The Spiraling Up of Community Capitals
Human, Social & Political Spiraling Up More educated/creative workers stay or are attracted to the region Banks & community foundation create small loan program Launch entrepreneurship program Work to retain and expand existing local businesses Leaders reach out and gather input from local residents Financial Human, Financial, Social & Built “One question that often comes up is something like this: ‘Is there a specific community capital that a community should try to invest in first, versus some other community capitals?’ The answer depends on the unique strengths and needs of each community. In other words, there is no one size fits all when it comes to which capital should be given precedence over other community capitals. The community has to take stock of which capitals need immediate attention. We know from past research studies that investments made in strengthening a specific type of community capital can often spur improvements in other community capitals. Let’s assume for a moment that local leaders have reached out to a diversity of people in the community to seek input on what should be included in their strategic plan for the community. The effort to touch base with more people strengthens communications and dialogue between local leaders and residents. In fact, local leaders decide to meet every three months with various communities and groups as a way to secure input and ongoing feedback from local residents. This activity brings about positive changes in two capitals – political and social. People feel more connected to local government and community leaders (political capital) and this helps build a greater amount of trust among these groups (social capital). Let’s further assume that during these discussions, local residents urge the local leaders to focus attention on retaining and expanding local businesses and investing in new entrepreneurial ventures so exciting new innovations can be launched in the area. The local leaders, working with the local chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, Extension community development educators and community college staff, launch a comprehensive business retention/expansion program. The team visits with local businesses and firms to find out what could be done to help sustain and build these enterprises. As a result, training and technical assistance is provided to these businesses, which improves the human capital skills of the business owners and of their employees. A local bank, when informed that some of the local firms are hoping to expand their operations, works with these businesses to secure the financial capital needed to grow their businesses. The improved financial position of these businesses allows them to lend more support to local schools and other worthwhile community programs (thus contributing to social capital). Furthermore, the fact that these firms don’t close their doors means that local buildings are not vacated, thus helping keep these built capital resources in productive use. The other major effort local leaders implement is an entrepreneurship program. With the help of the community college, chambers of commerce, the school system, and civic leaders, an incubator site is established at the local community college. The program targets high school students to adults. The community college has mentors to help the entrepreneurs, and it creates an entrepreneurship support network to allow existing and potential entrepreneurs to seek advice and assistance from one another (human and social capital). To help with start-up funds, banks and the community foundation create a low-interest program (financial capital). With the launch of the entrepreneurship initiative, talented youth and adults begin to stay in the community. Also, the effort attracts people with good education and workforce skills to the area. The influx of these talented individuals helps expand the human capital assets of the region. Through this example, you can see how the initial effort by local leaders to reach out to citizens creates a domino effect, stimulating a variety of activities that have positive impacts on many community capitals. This symbolizes the spiraling up that occurs when you decide to strategically invest in one or more of the capitals. These investments have a catalytic effect on several other community capitals.” Source: Emery, Mary and Cornelia Flora “Spiraling-Up: Mapping Community Transformation with Community Capitals Framework.” Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society, 37 (Spring): Built, Human, Financial & Social Social & Political Source: Emery & Flora (2006)

20 Applying These Approaches to our Extension Work
Types of Capitals People Voluntary Associations Formal Institutions Physical Resources Natural Cultural Human Social Political Financial Built The Asset Mapping Arenas The Community Capitals “Up to this point, we’ve discussed two frameworks – Asset-Based Community Development and Community Capitals. Now, we want to show how they can be used together to help develop a comprehensive picture of the wealth of resources in the community, resources that can be used in strategic ways to support your local efforts. As you can see, this table has the four columns, each referring to one of the four asset-mapping categories we discussed earlier. The community capitals are listed in the table’s seven rows. The real value of this template becomes more evident when we apply it to a specific goal.”

21 An Example to Guide You I
“We want to provide you with an example of how assets, community capitals, and barriers can be captured in a single table when considering a specific regional strategy. As you can see, the strategy listed on this slide is to create a business incubator center, funded by public/private investments, that will house in the facility by December business start-up firms that can provide goods and services to the region’s cluster. Next, list assets in the region that could help with this strategy, classified by the four major types discussed in this module – people, voluntary associations, formal institutions, and physical resources. Then, label which community capitals these assets appear to best represent. Please note that some assets can represent more than one type of community capital. Let me provide an example from this slide that may help you interpret the information contained in this table. For example, the table indicates that some of the assets available to work on the business incubator center are city and county governments (listed under formal institutions) and their elected leaders (such as city and county commissioners/supervisors listed under people assets). They control at least three community capitals relevant to this effort: (a) financial capital since they have government funds that could be used to support the incubator center or they could levy taxes to help pay for part of the cost of such a center; (b) water and/or energy resources needed by the center which represent natural capital; and (c) built capital, as they own a facility that could be used to house the center. At the same time, local governments could be a possible barrier. Unless city and county governments agree to work together on the business incubator center, it is quite possible that they can impede its creation because they can’t agree on whether it should be done or where in the region it should be located.”

22 Let’s Try the Process Select a goal relevant to your Extension program area. Develop a list of assets (people, voluntary associations, formal institutions and physical resources) that you can tap to help Use the seven capitals to assess if the full breath of assets have been identified.

23 Final Reflections Insights gained? Issues to clarify or discuss?
Type of training needed to advance your Extension work?

24 For More Information . . . Bo Beaulieu, PhD Director Purdue Center for Regional Development Purdue University Rachel Welborn Program Manager Southern Rural Development Center MS State University

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