8 Month Case Study Assessment- Public Participation & Community Development Models

Title: 8 Month Case Study Assessment- Public Participation & Community Development Models

Date Published: 3.14.09. Revised 3.15.09

Public Participation & Community Development Models

In order for community development efforts to be successful public participation must be involved.  Citizen participation includes only activities by the government.  Public participation includes activities in any public institution of society or the government, and includes organizations and institutions other than government. Green & Haines take care to qualify that the term ‘public participation’ also includes work done by people not considered to have the rights and obligations of citizens (immigrants).

My work, with regard to this case study, is not facilitated by government and thus is not classified as citizen participation.  While public participation categorizes my community development work I work  as an individual and not as a member of a Community Development Corporation (CDC).  I would argue that I can affect positive change in my community by using a model of community development and practicing the principles as an individual working in conjunction with other individuals, organizations, or local government.

Practitioners of community development approach their work in wide variety of ways.  James Christenson developed a typology that conceptualized differences in the approach practitioners take to do this work (Green and Haines).  Christenson divides the range of approaches to community development work into three models.  Below are the 3 models and how they compare against each other.

Theme, Role, & Task/Process Orientation – (comparisons)

Task/Process Orientation
Self – Help
Task/Process Orientation
Task/Process Orientation
Process and task

Table taken from Green, Gary Paul. Haines, Anna. Asset Building & Community Development. California: Sage Publications, 2002.

Themes (detailed)

  • Self-Help approach – “Practitioners who adopt this model tend to define their role as that of facilitating, helping the community identify its goals and increasing the community’s capacity to participate in the solution of collective problems” (Green & Haines).
  • Technical Assistance approach – “Practitioners who adopt the technical assistance approach assume that the most important obstacle communities face is technical assistance and information” (Green & Haines).
  • Conflict approach – The practitioner’s approach to this model is one of organizer and advocate.  Practitioners who adopt this approach assume that the fundamental source of most community problems is that community members lack power” (Green & Haines).

An Assessment of my work

Effective community development work requires careful assessment of the community by the practitioner.  This involves identifying community needs and analyzing community development efforts. I began this case study by identifying my focal points as 1). Education & 2). The environment.  Later, I set the goal for foreclosure distribution after identifying that a need existed in this community for this service.

Find an assessment of my community development case study work thus far (According to number of post and page hits).  My blogging involved reporting on student activities, a service campaign, and online listing of scholarship information can be found below.

Q. & A. –  Urban Planning & Community Development, Maplewood, NJ: a Case Study

Q. What model is utilized in this case study?

A. Between July 9, 2009 and March 2009 the model I have utilized in my approach to community development work in Maplewood via this blog site, along with my service activities, has been ‘technical assistance.’

Q. What role do you play as a community development practitioner?

A. My role has been that of a consultant.

Q. Whose values were served by this assistance?

A. I began this case study by identifying my focal points as 1). Education & the 2). The environment.  I believed when I began this study that there was a need for certain resources and information to be identified for students in Maplewood.

Specifically, I identified scholarship information and study skills information for local students.  I based this need on my personal experience growing up in the community.

Q. What goals have been established? Have any goals been set aside?

A. One goal established in this case study developed after the study began.  This goal is project based – to distribute foreclosure and eviction information to the Maplewood community.  The intent was to distribute as many documents as possible, and to respect peoples boundaries when doing so.

This need was identified through one-on-one conversations with Maplewood residents,  consultations with an academic expert on the issue, and participation in government forums.

No goals have been set aside.

Q. Will this assistance help residents address community problems better in the future?

A.  More time needed for further analysis.


Putting it all together

  • Public Participation
  • Community Development Models
  • Q.&A.
  • Past entries
  • Future Entries
  • Request for Comments

I personally want to thank our community for being open to my blogging on Urban Planning & Community Development in our township.  Thank you to those who have left comments on this site in these last few months.  Those who know me, or have become familiar with this blog, or those who I have met subsequently should know by now that I care about providing helpful information and affecting positive changes for people.

This blog (this medium for communication) will stand as a public record of not just my community development efforts in Maplewood but also the work of residents who want to contribute positively to our community. It will be something to look at with pride, I hope. I want people to say about the events referenced, “Yes! I remember that community event! I volunteered that day” Or, “Yes! I remember that fundraiser we held! It was successful because…”

Review the content on this site.  Take a look at past interviews and reflect on compiled work, especially the study skills document and the scholarship listing.  Regarding a past interview. It would be great if, ten years from now, a CHS graduate says “Yes, that art exhibit I attended at CHS really changed my outlook on my talents.  Talking to the artist introduced me to a world of art I never thought I would ever have access to…” (That would be so inspirational!)  Regarding Study Skills document. It would be inspiring if 20 or 30 rising 8th graders learned Freshman year is arguably the most important year in HS and were pro-active in their studies.  If these students read the study skills page and and gave Freshman year of HS their best effort and got a solid A or B GPA for that year that would be so awesome!  These students might not have done so well otherwise – 1st generation children from immigrant backgrounds / families who have recently moved into the middle class who never would have otherwise known the rules for academic success due to lack of experience in the educational system or limited resources.

I think there would be no point to blog on improving our community without periodically assessing community building work that is being done by myself and others.  By making assessments, we can, as a community, determine how we can better fundraise for events or activities or local government services.  We can better identify how we can tap into existing networks for supporting local government or civic initiatives. And each of us can pinpoint how we’ve been helpful in building this community into a stronger entity.  Personally, I want to know where to concentrate my energies.

Future Entries

In subsequent posts I will tackle difficult subjects such as budget cuts for our police department, the cutting of funding for our libraries, the need for food collection by local government for families in need in Maplewood.  The content of this blog will remain the same. I will take an academic approach to certain topics, I will include conversational pieces, stream of consciousness pieces, and I will do some reporting on exciting opportunities, relationship building activities, and fundraisers youth in our community are holding.

Blog title revisited – Along the way I edited the title of my blog to reflect what my community is – a Suburban rather than Urban entity.

© 2010 W. S. Hughes

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