Community development: historical overview

Michael Pitchford and Paul Henderson

in Making spaces for community development

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9781847422590
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302759 | DOI:
Community development: historical overview

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This chapter provides an overview of community development over the period of 40 years to provide a ‘backcloth’ for the changing practice of community development. The chapter begins with the 1960s during which social work was prevalent and community development officers were first appointed within the local authority social work departments. The chapter then moves on to the radical campaigns of the 1970s and the challenging reports from the community development projects (CDPs). In the 1980s, community development suffered significant cutbacks. It was also a period marked by a move away from social services departments as the ‘sponsor’ of community development towards that of economic development. This was developed further in the 1990s with the urban regeneration programmes in which community development became intertwined with the community involvement aspects of regeneration programmes. By the turn of the twenty-first century, community development has gained a higher prominence with the New Labour government that highlighted the indispensable role of the community in improving public services and promoting local democracy. However, it has also brought with it tensions due to the lack of a community voice which is significant for the achievement and success of community development work. This chapter aims to refer to the main signposts in community development and to provide readers an essential background required for the book as a whole.

Keywords: social work; community development officers; social work departments; community development projects; social services; urban regeneration programmes; community involvement; community voice

Chapter.  3392 words. 

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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