Community Development

 Comparing models

Social services model Community development
Central focus delivery of services identification of issues, populations affected
role of participation there are incentives to incomplete use/knowledge of available programs (e.g., for state budgets) success depends on broad-based, inclusive strategies–recipients of assistance vs owners of process
flexibility resistant to change (why?) dynamic, fluid-projects/initiatives depend on support of constituents
Potential for effecting social change Doesn’t challenge inequalities-inherently designed for minimal comfort of recipients Potential to address causes, not symptoms (but can do both)-address structural factors
Bureaucratic constraints Structure is predetermined-if problem doesn’t fit, need a new program (e.g., water billing in Ontario, low-income heating assistance program) Great flexibility in how to approach a problem (but often difficulty reaching consensus); non-profit organizations predominate
personnel may be understaffed, but includes fixed budgets for personnel often relies heavily on volunteer staff–less career-oriented opportunities (struggling non-profits)
Certainty of funding Funding more certain, but still subject to political circumstances (consider the broad cuts Oregon social services are likely to suffer this year) Funding may vary, sources are less certain than public services model, many community development organizations must devote scarce resources to looking for money to keep active


  • Social safety net
  • Social conscience
  • Advocacy
  • Activism
  • Community participation
  • Address quality of life issues

Advantages and disadvantages

Community/policy approaches versus project/program approaches

  • Integration, coordination
  • Flow of information
  • Integration versus intervention
  • Scale

Social Capital

  • social organization(s)
  • ‘bank of favors’
  • mutual aid
  • bridging (e.g., facebook) vs bonding (e.g., Greek societies)
  • Changes (e.g., Putnam–how has social capital changed/declined in recent decades)?

Development ‘biases’ (what groups does development ‘favor?’ Whose participation is sought, expected, least likely to disrupt status quo?)

  • ‘Tarmac’ (further away from the airport)
  • Urban/rural (further away from the city)
  • Tourism — PR vs getting the picture of reality (the tour of the state, for instance–how often to legislators make trips out to Eastern Oregon?)
  • Off the beaten path
  • Household differences (who has more access, means to participate in civic life?)
  • Meeting biases–times, days, locations (who’s got time in the evenings?)
  • Linguistic, cultural, ethnic and racial biases (American spoken here?)