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Rural Development News, v21 n3 p1-3,12 Sep 1997 n4 p1-3 Win 1997-1998

Decentralization and budget reduction in the public sector, and globalization and downsizing in the private sector have placed more responsibility on localities to address challenges to the health of their economies, ecosystems, and people. Community development theory and practice are also changing, evidenced by changes in vocabulary. Community development, with its connotations of outside experts focusing on economic development, is giving way to community building, which focuses on continual improvement and grassroots efforts. Needs assessment, which focuses on what is wrong with a community, is being replaced by asset mapping, which identifies opportunities by focusing on a community's assets. Approaches that consider community residents as clients needing outside institutional help are shifting to considering them as citizens who form partnerships based on what they have to offer. Leadership building has changed from plucking individuals from their community for special attention to building the capacity of the community as a whole to identify and work toward its collective vision. Strategic visioning, which emphasizes continual examination and adaptation of ways to achieve a community vision, leads to a higher level of community success than the static model of strategic planning. Communities are moving away from development strategies based on getting outside resources to interdependent strategies based on working with a variety of entities to reach mutual goals. Industrial recruitment strategies are giving way to self-development strategies based on business retention and expansion. Feedback mechanisms are changing from outside evaluation to internal monitoring. (Contains 10 online resources and 9 references.) (TD)

Descriptors: Citizen Participation, Community Action, Community Cooperation, Community Development, Economic Development, Leadership Training, Long Range Planning, Models, Participative Decision Making, Rural Areas, Rural Development

Autor: Flora, Cornelia Butler


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