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UNIT ONE: What is Community Development?


Within the global context of unpredictabililty and changing scenerios, with their constant flow of infromation and the reliance on intelligence, small and poor rural or urban communities must develop strategies and programs to support their own development.

Traditionally, development has taken place through the replacement of natural resources by man-made assets. The process of replacement involves, in many cases, the replacemnt of resources that were accessible to local community use, with man-made assets that are private and not accessible to the people.

Given that natural assets appreciate over time and man-made assets depreciate, the traditional process of development has not increased but instead decreased the asset value of communities, resulting in accelerated erosion of their base asset base and that of future generations. Similarly, the increase in land value, long regarded as the yardstick for development often resulted in the escalation of land prices beyond the capacity of the community. Such conditions ultimately lead to the marginalization of the community.

The challenge that communities face therefore, is not simply to earn a living at a continuing level of mere subsistence, but to attain meaningful transformation towards higher standards of living and a better quality of life. This approach guarantees a healthy environment for future generations.


Session 1:1 introduces the concept of community development and examines the nature of process to improve persons at the grassroots in a global scenario of change and development.

Session 1:2 the Nature of sustainable development, we focus on how sustainable development approaches alter the mindset and create new opportunities. We see how it alters behavior in most facets of life and in so doing make the transition to a sustainable way of life.

Session 1:3 introduces methods to monitor, evaluate, and measure the effects of community development processes. Enviornmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an increasingly important tool in determining, planning and ultimately managing the development programs and environmental systems. The aim of this section is to explain the procedures, methods and techniques which can be used to predict the environmental consequences of any development to be undretaken, be they natural, social, or economic.

Learning Objectives:

On completing this Unit, you will be able to:

1. Place the value of different categories of resources (capital) in perspective within the context of today's world.
2. Understand notions of development and the processes that go with them.
3. Identify skills that are required to foster the development process
4. Identify components of the process and their role.
5. Formulate a concept for a system of development and suggest ways of approaching it.


Planning for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean
Edited by Asad Mohammed and Dennis Pantin
Port of Spain - Trinidad - 1994
"Perspectives on Sustainable Development" - Angela Cropper

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