What Are the Different Types of Community Development Projects?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Community development projects are a means of strengthening a local region in one of many different ways. There are several types of community development projects, including those aimed at helping specific segments of the community, improving safety conditions, and enhancing social and cultural pursuits throughout the region. By financing targeted community development projects, foundations and local governments can spur their towns and cities toward future growth and sustainability.

Community development projects may be discussed between professionals and officials at a seminar.
Community development projects may be discussed between professionals and officials at a seminar.

The goal of some development programs is to assist segments of the population who are in need of social services. This could include building a job training center for the unemployed or creating or upgrading facilities for domestic violence victims or homeless people. Some projects might involve providing food or medical care for children and families struggling with poverty, or tuition assistance at local community colleges for those who can demonstrate financial need. Improving the health, education, and future prospects of the neediest members of society can help the community grow as a whole.

Community development projects can help families to emerge from extreme poverty.
Community development projects can help families to emerge from extreme poverty.

Disaster preparation, prevention, and mitigation are often the source of community development projects. A community program geared toward improving fire safety, for instance, could include handing out free or discounted smoke alarms, holding coordinated school and business fire drills, and sending local firefighters into schools to teach children about fire prevention and safety. In an area prone to flooding, a community program might exist to help improve or retrofit flood barriers and dams, thus increasing the protection level for homes and businesses near the flood zone. A community that is known for strong safety programs may enjoy increased property values and a higher level of safety and security for citizens.

Community development includes making sure people who make up the local workforce have adequate skills.
Community development includes making sure people who make up the local workforce have adequate skills.

The social and cultural component of a community is vital to its sustainability. By enhancing and encouraging a strong local social scene, a town or city can help enhance its reputation as a fun, enjoyable place to live and work. Creating and funding a city orchestra is one example of a culture-based community development program. The building or improving of community spaces for entertainment, education, and meetings is also a popular way for a region to improve its cultural and social offerings. Towns may also engage in community development projects that help restore and maintain historic buildings, parks, and other areas that help define the character and history of the region. These projects can not only enhance the lives of citizens, but help increase the flow of travel and tourism to the region, thus promoting the local economy.

Developing a greenspace for the public is an example of a community project.
Developing a greenspace for the public is an example of a community project.
Community development projects may benefit children who do not have access to adequate food.
Community development projects may benefit children who do not have access to adequate food.
Sports programs geared toward at-risk youth are an example of community development projects.
Sports programs geared toward at-risk youth are an example of community development projects.
Community development programs could focus on education issues, such as literacy.
Community development programs could focus on education issues, such as literacy.
Community development projects might focus on providing computer access to people in low-income neighborhoods.
Community development projects might focus on providing computer access to people in low-income neighborhoods.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments

candyquilt

@ysmina-- There was a project for organic farming that was introduced in the Washington D.C. area in 2010 that was very successful.

Some of the poorest people in the U.S. live in Washington D.C. area. A major problem in these areas is the lack of access to grocery stores and fresh produce. So a project was started where people were encouraged to grow their own produce. Even if someone has a very small area of soil that they can use, he or she can grow tomatoes, lettuce and other vegetables quite easily. This project has been very successful. In fact, Michelle Obama also supported the project by growing organic produce in the White House garden.

stoneMason

@ysmina-- There are many different types of projects that could be done, but I think that one of the best projects is building basketball courts and fields for teens to play sports in.

There have been studies done on this, an it was shown that in communities where there are basketball courts and other areas for children and teens to play, teens were less likely to engage in crime.

So the idea here is to give teens something positive that they can do. This will help reduce crime in a community. Teens involved in athletics usually do better in school and if they are very good at it, they can even win scholarships from universities. So projects encouraging athletics and sports in a community are very beneficial.

ysmina

What is the best type of community development project for a community struggling with poverty and crime?

Slitherine

@TurtleeyMC - You are 100% right.

It's downright sad to drive down city streets that used to be vibrant and bustling and see more abandoned or closed, run-down buildings than existing businesses.

It seems like all towns talk for years about building senior, youth or general community centers. But, they can never raise enough money, and the communities continue to deteriorate.

TurtleeyMC

All of the benefits of community development mentioned in the article are spot on. That's why it's such a shame that funding for these programs seems to be the first thing cut by the government in a budget crunch.

If the money was being spent on improving education or bringing more businesses to the area, that would be helpful. But, let's not kid ourselves, that doesn't seem to be the case at all.

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