A Brief History of Community Economic Development

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ABrief History of Community Economic Development


ABrief History of Community Economic Development

Clay&amp Jones, (2009) explores the historical development of communityEconomic Development (CED) concept over time. Community Economicdevelopment is denoted as a combination of strategies and activitiesconducted with the aim of improving the economic status and socialstatus of a particular region. CED through Community developmentcorporations (CDC) drives to achieve better housing, the creation ofemployment, better and affordable health care in addition to otherbetter conditions of life. In line with the concept, various programshave been initiated in the USA from the 1900s, but an appropriateempirical knowledge and framework have not been obtained. It isevident that some of the programs have been criticized for lack ofprovision for community input, while other have undermined thecommunity control in these developments.

Theonset of CED traces back in pre-Civil rights era. Washington andDubois, in the 1900s, engaged in various issues that can benefit thedisadvantaged groups and societies, by then African American slaves(Clay &amp Jones, 2009). Washington called for the adoption ofnationalist perspective that seeks self-sufficiency and emphasis onsocial equality. Advancement for the black was hence to be obtainedthrough industrial training and entrepreneurial skills. The economicadvancement would be achieved through educational empowerment andimprovement of infrastructure for the blacks (Rubin, 2000). Dubois,on the other hand, pursued the idea of nurturing the young blackleaders, to help others in the realization of racial equality,necessary for economic development. During this era, economicdevelopment was attained through the formation of black-ownedbusiness cooperatives, which fostered business initiation andexpansion. The most important cooperation for the economic and socialdevelopment of the black was United Negro Improvement Association(UNIA).

Theconcept of CED developed in the human rights period between the 1950sand 1970s. During this time, the focus shifted from economicnationalism to strategies aimed at benefiting individuals atgrassroots. By mid-1960s, major firms with a focus on civil rightsinitiated numerous strategies for advocating for good economicconditions in the urban slums perceived for the blacks [ CITATION Ste14 l 1033 ].The issues of concern for the civil rights group revolved around fullemployment, decent pay and good housing. The grassroots campaignsyielded results with federal government initiating social policyprograms such as urban renewal and upgrade. Moreover,a partnership with the relevant groups in the initiation of programssuch as Youth Mobilization, housing projects helped achieve themuch-anticipated economic development for various disadvantagedcommunities. Each and every project launched pursued to provideeducation for youths, vocational skills training, and family servicesamongst others. In advancement of this development, (EOA) and (CAP)legislations were implemented to enhance the feasibility of allprograms meant for community development. The rationale is toincrease community control and participation for programs meant toimprove the economy of the disadvantaged places.

Advancementof the concept in the 1970s and 1980s concentrated on housing andimprovement of health care. Various CDCs in the 1980s advocated forlow-housing Tax credits in addition to community reinvestments.However, in 1980, the Reagan administration with the famousReagonomics failed to provide the necessary support to variouseconomic development programs, by cutting food benefits and housingassistance, with only focus on the market based CED.

Inconclusion, the development of CED in the contemporary times isfocused on market-based operations that seek to reduce poverty. Sinceit is considered that low-income communities and societies fail towork well, the solution to the problem is to foster the markets. Theprimary role focuses then on restructuring market incentives topromote local investment. Initiatives to support that include cheaphouses, and initiation of commercial organizations. The initiatedbusinesses and financial institutions promote economic developmentthrough the opening of various market opportunities that createsemployment, foster trade and enhance better health care.


ClayJr, R. A., &amp Jones, S. R. (2009). A Brief History of CommunityEconomic Development. Journalof Affordable Housing &amp Community Development Law,257-267.

Stenberg, K. H. (2014). Advancing social and economic development by investing in women`s and children`s health: a new Global Investment Framework. The Lancet, 383(9925), 1333-1354.