Urban Programs Resource Network

About Extension

Community Development

Rapid changes in our society and competition for resources necessitate communities mobilizing their human resources to plan, implement, and sustain efforts to improve their social, economic, and cultural well-being. Community development impacts localities by stimulating local initiative through involving people in the process of social and economic change. It also builds channels of communication that promote solidarity within a community. Community development strengthens citizen's ability to make community decisions and mobilize appropriate resources.

Community development programs help to solve local problems through identifying community leaders, building local organizations and groups, assessing local needs, assets, and capabilities, and bringing together diverse elements in the community.

University of Illinois Extension gives citizens the opportunity to reach their personal best. Programs such as urban gardening help residents revitalize and beautify their neighborhoods. Educational initiatives focusing on the environment help people learn how to make balanced, education decisions about environmental issues affecting their community. The Sea Grant program, for example, addresses economic and environmental issues concerning Lake Michigan and the many waterways and wetlands in the state. Collaborative programs with other community organizations such as the youth entrepreneurial program help prepare our youth for the future.

The diverse Extension community development programs demonstrate that all people have resources, potential, and a responsibility to help build a better tomorrow.