The principles of community development are the foundation for successful social change. They are essential to understanding how people can achieve their goals and what they need to do to transform their communities. The principles of community development develop a sense of identity, leadership, and hope for those involved in social change projects.
The principles of community development are:
Empowerment: People in the community have the power to transform their lives while they are engaged and working together.
Connectivity: People in a community must be connected so that they can share resources, learn from one another’s successes and failures, and work together to address problems as they arise. Connectivity can be achieved through the use of technologies.
Collective action: When people in a community work together to solve a problem or reach a shared goal, they are taking part in collective action.
Coherence: There should be an interdependent relationship among all people and groups within the community. This includes considering how different groups of people within communities contribute to greater or lesser degrees to a given system and how they interrelate with each other.
Embeddedness: A community is embedded in its natural and human-made environments; it is the place where its people live, work, play, and worship. In the United States, a community is viewed as consisting of individuals who are joined together by shared values and often identities that transcend social divisions such as race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. The community itself should be seen as a “web” of relationships between people.
The Principles of Community Development can be applied to any field or organization. They can be used to design and implement programs that lead to a greater sense of belonging and cohesion among members. People are the driving force of all communities. The principles of community development, which include “involvement, leadership, and empowerment,” focus on developing relationships between members and supporting healthy individual growth. The term “community development” signifies a movement that aims to develop and improve communities.
Generally speaking, community development is a process in which groups or organizations create a plan to strengthen the bonds between their members and act as a catalyst for change within their community. The principles of community development are the foundation of all effective community-building.