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CSS 390

Introduction to Community Development


Fridays 10 AM to 1 PM, Lincoln Park Campus

This course offers an introduction to the field of community

development (CD) within the context of North American cit-
ies. Students will gain perspective on historical and contempo-
rary approaches to CD through exploring how residents of low
-income neighborhoods organize to advance social change.
Special emphasis will be placed on the way local groups draw
on a shared sense of history and cultural identity to empower
themselves to influence the physical, social, economic and po-
litical processes that impact their community’s wellbeing. Read-
ings, discussions, films, guest speakers, and field projects will
expose students to the variety of organizations and occupations
that have emerged to support local groups in building afford-
able housing, improving access to quality education, healthcare
resources and healthy food, creating income-earning opportu-
nities, (re) building their neighborhood’s commercial infrastruc-
ture, and seeking environmental justice.

Topics to be covered by the course include: historical

approaches to CD, theories of CD, the impact of the local, na-
tional and global economy on CD, the role of community de-
velopment corporations (CDCs) and community-based organi-
zations (CbOs), community-based research and CD, CD poli-
cies and policy-making, CD and electoral politics, and financing
CD. In an effort to develop a deeper understanding of course
materials, students will participate in food access research pro-
jects in partnership with community organizations that seek to
employ local food production as a tool for creating sustainable
community development.

For more information contact: COMMUNITY SERVICE STUDIES