There are many different strategies and methods used in community development. Below is a chart of those that are most commonly used. 




1.   Locality Development


  • Improvements in the well-being of local citizens through increased resources, facilities, services, etc., brought about by the active involvement of citizens.
  • Building a community centre
  • Home renovation subsidies

2.   Social Action


  • Seeks a redistribution of power
  • Focus is on a specific issue
  • Advocacy activities; for example;
  • Anti-poverty activists seeking increases to social assistance rates.

3.   Social Planning[5]


  • Rational problem-solving process to address social problems
  • Involves needs assessments, analysis of service delivery mechanisms, systems co-ordination and other technical expertise
  • Involvement of community members in consultation, interpretation of results and service planning
  • Conducting a needs assessment of people who are homeless and using the results to plan a new housing development in needed locations, with appropriate services on-site.

4.   Social Reform


  • Activity by one group on behalf of a relatively disadvantaged group
  • Advocating for community acceptance, supports and services for people that have a mental illness

5.   Community Relations


  • Focus is on increasing social integration
  • Often attempts to improve the social status of minority populations
  • Mediating between community factions
  • Anti-racism programs

6.   Social Capital Formation[6]


  • Focus in on connections among individuals - social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness
  • high social capital = effective schools, governments, lower crime, higher economic equality, greater tolerance
  • includes political engagement, civic and religious organizations, family gatherings, socializing, group recreational activities
  • Creating places and opportunities for community members to gather and network with each other
  • Orientation programs to welcome newcomers
  • Community activities to develop and/neighbourliness.

7.   Capacity Building


Capacity is the participatory leadership, skills, resources, knowledge and tools of individuals in communities and organizations that enable them to address, and have greater control over, conditions and factors that affect their quality of life.


(a) Individual Capacity is the sum of the assets (skills, talents, experience and knowledge) possessed by an individual that will help them succeed and contribute to their community.

(b) Organizational Capacity is the participatory decision-making, program development, planning, research, resources, tools, skills, education & training, knowledge contained within an organization

(c) Community Capacity: the combination of a community's commitment, leadership, resources and skills that can be deployed to build on community strengths and address community problems and opportunities.

(a) The Search Institute[7] has identified the essential development assets for children youth that will enable them to thrive.

(b) organizations can enhance their capacity in many ways, such as professional development activities, involvement of all levels of the organization in planning, and recognizing the unique talents of individuals

(c) Some indicators of high community capacity are inter-agency networking opportunities, collaborations and partnerships to address broad community issues, community pride, local government support for community activities and high quality education,  health and social services.

8.   Asset-Based Community Development


  • Assets are the gifts, skills, resources and abilities of community residents; sometimes physical resources are also included
  • Every community has a unique combination of assets upon which to build its future
  • Starts with identifying assets rather than needs
  • Is internally focused and relationship-driven

Some communities have mapped the location of their community assets (people, businesses, services, buildings, natural features) and used the data to connect people with similar interests, or people in need of help with someone that can provide it. Co-operative businesses and new volunteer groups have been established from community mapping projects.  





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