University of Missouri Extension

DM7616, New August 2006

Practicing Community Development

Editor's note
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Practicing Community DevelopmentDonald W. Littrell
Doris P. Littrell

Community development is a radical profession. It is based on the belief that people can give purposeful direction to their collective future. How this occurs is based on the community, the issues, the current capacity of people and the resource base that is present.

Community development involves work in the ongoing lives of rural, urban and suburban communities. It is an international effort at the community level.

Community development is gaining knowledge and empowerment through a process of collaboration and action. The heart and soul of community development is creating experiences through which people learn they can take ownership of their situation and devise and implement plans of action. The measure of success in a community development effort is the quality of people it produces.

Practicing Community Development focuses on the ethical and practical aspects of community development. It is full of examples of people coming together and working through challenges. The authors use their experience as a base from which to explore how to help community members implement their visions.

This book is for community members and the people in agencies, government and nonprofit organizations who work with them. It can also be used as a textbook for beginning undergraduate and graduate courses in community development or other social sciences.

Table of contents

Chapter one

Community Development Orientation

Chapter two

Community Development Assumptions: What We Think About People

Chapter three

Community Development Values: Directions to the Profession

Chapter four

The Foundations of Practice

Chapter five

Practicing the Principles

Chapter six

Administration of Community Development

Chapter seven


About the authors

Donald W. Littrell worked in community development as a regional and state extension specialist and professor at MU. Other roles he served during his nearly 40 years of work include Fulbright professor in Thailand and consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He died in 2005.

Doris P. Littrell is retired from her position as director of MU Direct: Continuing and Distance Education. She also worked with adults returning to school at Stephens College, and she is involved with nonprofit organizations. Her community development work began as a citizen and continued through taking courses and writing about and teaching in the field.

Don and Doris collaborated as consultants, teachers and trainers. Highlights of their work include helping develop and implement the Community Development Academy in Missouri and a Community Development Institute in both Conway, Ark., and Thibodeaux, La. In 2003 they became involved with Together for Hope, a rural poverty initiative that brings people from 20 of the poorest U.S. counties out of poverty through community development.



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