Nulungu Journal Articles

Community Development: Pathways Towards Socio-Ecological Change


This article explores community development, one element of community services work that is supported by the Australian Community Workers Association. It has been prepared acknowledging that many community work professionals are asked to include components of community development work in their employment. Such workers include those working with children and youth, people with disabilities, and families experiencing domestic violence. Some people, however, have not had the opportunity to experience and/or train in this type of activity, in their professional training and/or their workplace.

This article commences by considering community development history, covering pre-colonisation, post world-war II, and current times. Explorations of other themes that adopt community development theory and practice are also offered, including ecological economics, asset-based community development, rural renewal, and community-led initiatives. These highlight robust community inclusion and involvement in locally generated grassroots projects. From this base the article moves on to consider community development shifting from anthropocentric to eco-centric theory and practice that can involve Indigenous knowledges, climate change and ecological justice, along with social and community advancement. This approach involves community people from diverse backgrounds and/or workers (paid and voluntary) collaborating to generate socio-ecological change for their community and planet.

To generate or add to current understandings professional community workers are invited to examine the following points as they relate to the broad field of community development work.


community development, social and ecological justice, grassroots projects

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