CED is an economic development process that takes place inside a particular geographic region with the goal of making the economy in that area operate well for the people who live there (Bhattacharyya, 2004). People who live, work, and own enterprises in the region are in charge of the process. The economy is the primary focus of attention. CED is about transforming the underlying economic system in a place, rather than focusing on helping to improve people’s ability to thrive well within their current environment (Enns, 2018). It generates new economic opportunities for local people, rather than focusing on coping strategies to help them survive in their current environment.
The Center for Economic Development is not interested in economic growth as the ultimate aim of local economic development; rather, it is interested in economic development that promotes human well-being at the community level while remaining within environmental constraints. For more impoverished areas, there is often a heavy emphasis on generating and, more importantly, retaining more money in the community.
According to Shaffer and others, when it comes to community economic development, the power to effect change lies with the people who live in the region as well as local companies, local service providers, community groups, and voluntary sector organizations that have a direct interest in the economic health of the area (2006).
The framework for community capitals is likely the most extensive and thorough approach available. At its heart, this paradigm aims to define every community using seven capitals: natural, financial, constructed, social, political, human, and cultural capitals, as well as a number of sub-capitals (Emery and Flora 2006, Flora and Flora 2012). It is only when these capitals are effectively linked to one another, mobilized, and leveraged that communities may be transformed into healthy, vibrant, wealthy, and powerful places. In addition, although financial capital is often the first thing that comes to mind, there are really six additional forms of capital available in each particular society.
According to Emery and Flora (2006), natural capital refers to assets that are specific to a location or region, like air, biodiversity, weather, and soil; financial capital refers to money, income, and wealth; built capital refers to the infrastructure that supports all other capitals, like water/sewer systems, utilities, broadband, and so on; and social capital refers to the connections between people and organizations, which is reflected in the strength of networks.
When a community’s resources are effectively integrated and leveraged, the result is a “spiraling-up” scenario (Emery and Flora 2006), in which one capital builds on another, which in turn builds on another. The converse is also true: these capitals may have a negative influence on one another to the point of suffering a “spiraling-down” effect (Emery and Flora 2006). This approach also underlines the fact that community capital may be squandered and hoarded by individuals and organizations. As a society, people must be cognizant of which resources are accessible, which are deficient, and how to more effectively deploy them for the good of the whole community.
Bhattacharyya, J. (2004). Theorizing community development. Community Development, 34(2), 5-34.
Emery, M., & Flora, C. (2006). Spiraling-up: Mapping community transformation with community capitals framework. Community development, 37(1), 19-35.
Enns, S. W. (2018). Community economic development in Manitoba: Theory, history, policy, and practice. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Shaffer, R., Deller, S., & Marcouiller, D. (2006). Rethinking community economic development. Economic development quarterly, 20(1), 59-74.