This course explores the theory and practice of community development, from both the macro perspective of structural, institutional, and governmental policies and practices and the micro perspective of individual, group, and neighborhood perspectives. Emphasis will be placed on the role of individuals, corporations and other community-based organizations in the process of community development. The course will address key issues such as housing, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, school-community partnerships, urban growth, and sustainability, with a focus on the social and political aspects of development. The course will use multiple pedagogical models -- case studies; experiential real-world exercises; group projects -- to support students' engagement with these topics.
Community Development Report You will produce a Community Development Report for this class. The report will consist of seven specific components, each of which is summarized below and will be discussed at length in class. While each component is more-or-less a stand-alone project, the goal of the report (and the course) is to synthesize a wide variety of data (as well as gain specific knowledge, skills, and dispositions) towards better understanding and addressing issues of community development, change, and revitalization.
Who Am I? Why Am I Here? What it Means to Be a Citizen: this should be a short (2-3 page) description, analysis, and reflection on your perspective of what it means to be a citizen. While it is helpful to use the course readings to guide your write-up, the goal is to discuss your notion of yourself as part of a large whole (neighborhood; community; culture; city; state; nation).
Descriptive Data of Your Community: you will be required to collect a wide range of data – educational; demographic; fiscal; social; housing; legislative; health; economic – on a specific community. Given the immense amount of available data, you will provide both an overview of the community as well as a “deep dive” into one or two specific areas.
Attendance at a Community Meeting: you will be required to attend a community meeting. This could be a meeting held under the jurisdiction of your town, school district, non-profit organization, or other community-based group. Documentation of this meeting (such as official minutes, agenda, your own journal notes) will be required.
Application to a Community Committee: you will be required to fill out an application for a community committee. (Note: you do not have to submit the application.) This committee could be under the jurisdiction of your town, school district, non-profit organization, or other community-based group. Documentation of the application process (such as official application, description of committee responsibilities and duties, your own journal notes) will be required.
Interview with a Community Leader: you will be required to interview a community leader. This should be either an in-person or phone interview. You should provide a transcription of the entire interview as well as a summary and synthesis.
Survey of Community Residents: you will be required to conduct a sample survey of a group of individuals in a particular community.
My Theory of Community Development and Change: this should be an extended (3-5 pages) write up that (a) reflects upon, summarizes, and synthesizes your data, activities, and experiences [#2-6, above], and (b) links it to a description and analysis of some of the readings in this course about what it takes to accomplish community development, change, and revitalization.
Session 1 – May 22 – Introduction & Overview READINGS: