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What Are the Different Community Development Models?

Community development models are diverse, each tailored to address specific societal needs. From Asset-Based to Collective Impact, these frameworks empower communities by leveraging local strengths and fostering collaboration. They range from grassroots initiatives to top-down approaches, ensuring inclusivity and sustainability. How does each model shape the fabric of a community? Explore the nuances and impacts of these transformative strategies with us.
Osmand Vitez
Osmand Vitez

Community development models allow individuals living in a certain area to improve their immediate surroundings. Models vary widely based on many factors, a few of which include individuals, available funds, community needs, and current economic situations. The different types of community development models are needs based, goal oriented, and asset based. A community may use one model or more, either at one time or over a long period of time, covering many different community stages. Local governments may be the catalysts that drive community changes through these models.

Needs-based community development models focus on the specific needs of individuals or groups in a given area. For example, needs may arise for more schools, police services, or fire departments as the community’s population increases. Other times, infrastructure — such as roads and communal buildings — may create a need for community improvements. Community managers and other local officials may need to hold meetings with the local community members when using this model. The meeting’s purpose is to define the greatest needs among the community and then spend funds on rectifying the issues through development projects.

Community development may include the deployment of new services, such as youth sports leagues.
Community development may include the deployment of new services, such as youth sports leagues.

Goal-oriented models are much different than needs-based community development. Here, local officials may set goals — with or without community approval — that need accomplishing through community funds. The goals may be set in order to improve ong-term development. Goals can be wide ranging and may not exactly meet the needs of a community. In short, goals are necessary to create a stable business environment, attract new companies, and increase the livelihoods of those living in the surrounding areas.

Asset-based community development models depend on the items a community may have at its immediate disposal. For example, communities with large coffers of available cash can spend the resource on many different types of projects, employees, or building improvements. An example here would be improving a fleet of aging police vehicles with the excess cash. The asset exchange allows a community to increase its overall structure without spending cash on an item that will go away in the near future. Asset-based developments most often help a community improve the life of many citizens at one time.

Community development models may have long periods of time required to complete projects. In some cases, the community may create a five-year plan for potential projects based on current income streams. These long-term plans require commitment and the fortitude to withstand political pressure to alter plans.

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    • Community development may include the deployment of new services, such as youth sports leagues.
      By: Dusan Kostic
      Community development may include the deployment of new services, such as youth sports leagues.