Building community capacity for CED through community based planning

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Southern New Hampshire University
As stated in the thesis project "Community Economic Development begins with the belief that small communities can be viable, and that local people can take charge of their own development, and effect the future direction of their community. Real Community Economic Development provides an opportunity for the community as a whole to develop a consensus on where the future lies and this brings into focus what has to be undertaken now to begin moving towards a desired vision. Many smaller, rural communities, like many in Newfoundland, are often associated with dependency upon a narrow economic base, epitomized in the term "single-industry" towns. In communities dominated by a single or small number of employers, the narrow economic base often results in vulnerability of the entire community. This implied dependency can too easily affect initiative. This expresses itself as " What are THEY (government) going to do to help us? What will THEY do to solve our problems when the fishery (or other industries) closes? With this in mind the following observations must be made: - Increasing concerns over public deficits means that government cannot be expected to rescue all communities faced with economic problems and that there will likely be less public intervention in the market place. - However, the complexity of the economic development process means that few communities can contemplate standing alone in that process. There is, indeed, a trend in many parts of Canada for government and other organizations to encourage the creation of local development committees. - It is essential to coordinate local initiatives and planning with government and all other organizations in the area, so that meaningful, appropriate partnerships are formed. Many of the top down initiatives created by provincial and federal government in the regional economic development domain, have not lived up to expectations. This is largely because of the short term nature of many projects, and the failure to adequately involve people in making decisions - hence a lack of "ownership" and results. The lesson for community economic development, is that it is a partnership process between communities, regions and thus the whole province.It must start at the community level but must have regional and provincial considerations. The role of Community Economic Development can be summarized in five points: 1. Local community economic development is a Process with a Purpose. That purpose is to influence the patterns of growth, decline and restructuring of economic activity to meet Community's needs and objectives more effectively. 2. In the broadest sense, local community economic development aims to improve the quality of life of the community's residents by influencing the ways in which people earn their livelihoods, and is therefore a key ingredient in the achievement of sustainable communities. 3. Community Economic Development strives to enhance and develop the social and cultural aspects of the community. 4. Community Economic Development involves local people in making local decisions. It is essentially local people taking ownership for their own development and the development of their community, with a aim of becoming self-sufficient. 5. Local Community economic Development is the coordinating and bringing together of all community people, groups and organizations to create and support initiative." (Library-derived description)