Community and Economic Development: Theory and Practice

CEDEV 500: Community and Economic Development: Theory and Practice (3): Understanding theories, concepts, and frameworks of community and economic development and community decision-making models in application to community development practice and issues. Prerequisites: Completion of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution is required.


Instructor for CEDEV 500Michael W-P Fortunato, Ph.D.

Adjunct Lecturer: Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education
Founding Partner:
Creative Insight Community Development
Email: Please use Inbox in Canvas
Phone: (412) 480 4974 (cell)

I will do my best to respond to your e-mails (use Canvas Inbox) within 24 to 48 hours, and I will let you know if I'm going to be unavailable for any length of time.


CEDEV 500 provides an overview of principles of community and economic development. Course goals are to: (1) increase your conceptual and intuitive understanding of development and decision-making related to development generally and (2) provide frames of reference you can use in thinking about community development issues that will be applicable throughout the CEDEV program. One of our goals for the course is to offer the opportunity for you to become familiar with different views of development and to consider their relevance for community development practice.

CEDEV 500 consists of 14 modules or weeks, all located within our password-protected course Web site. This course is a synchronous course, meaning that you are part of a "cohort" or learning community. There are regular due dates for assignments, and a fixed start and end date. There are interactive sessions where you communicate with others in the class.

Course Objectives

By the end of CEDEV 500 you should be able to:

  • Identify and use conceptual and analytical frameworks for analyzing community and economic development issues.
  • Discuss theories and important concepts of development.
  • Identify important public and private institutions influencing development.
  • Describe the concepts of community and how they relate to community development and change.
  • Critically assess approaches to development decision-making.
  • Analyze the role of power in development, particularly who benefits and who loses.
  • Use research to inform development decision-making and community development practice.
  • Articulate how theories and concepts of development and decision-making apply to community development practice.

Course Requirements and Grading

The turnaround time for graded assignments is generally one week or less.

Grading Element Due Date % of Grade
Participation in Discussions Due date on Canvas Syllabus 48%
Three Integrative Essays Due date on Canvas Syllabus 36%
Final Integrative Essay Due date on Canvas Syllabus 16%

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" on the World Campus Student Policies Web site.

Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100 - 94%
A- < 94 - 90%
B+ < 90 - 87%
B < 87 - 84%
B- < 84 - 80%
C+ < 80 - 77%
C < 77 - 74%
D < 74 - 64%
F < 64 - 0%

Required Course Materials

Two textbooks are required for this class. Both are available online through various retailers.

    • *Taylor, Marilyn. 2011. Public Policy in the Community, New York: NY Palgrave Macmillan.
    • *Stoecker, Randy. 2013. Research Methods for Community Change: A Project-Based Approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

*E-Book Option: An online version of this text is available at no cost as a Penn State Library E-Book. You can access the E-Book through the Library Resources link on the course navigation. Some E-Books will only be available online, while others will be available to download in full or in part. You may choose to use the E-Book as an alternative to purchasing a physical copy of the text. For questions or issues, you can contact the University Libraries Reserve Help (UL-RESERVESHELP@LISTS.PSU.EDU).


You will access readings from Penn State Library's Course Reserves. A link to the Course Reserves is located on the left navigation in Canvas.

Complete List of CEDEV 500 Readings:

Module 2: What Is Community Development?

Required Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Sanders, I.T. (1970). The concept of community development. In L.J. Cary (Ed.), Community development as a process (pp. 9-31). Columbia: University of Missouri Press.
  • Summers, G.F. (1986). Rural community development. Annual review of Sociology, 12: 347-371.
  • Leigh, N.G, & Blakeley, E.J. (2013). Planning local economic development: Theory and practice (5th ed.). Newbury Park: Sage. Chapter 3 "Concepts and theory of local economic development only" (pp. 71-98) only.
  • Bradshaw, T.K. (2008). The post-place community: Contributions to the debate about the definition of community. Journal of the Community Development Society, 39 (1): 5-16.
  • Wilkinson, K.P. (1991). The community in rural America. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Chapter 4 "Rural community development" (pp. 87-108) only.

Background reading (skim):

  • Phifer, B.M., List, E.F., & Faulkner, B. (1980). History of community development in America. In J.A. Christenson, & J.W. Robinson, Jr. (Eds.), Community Development in America (pp. 18-37). Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press.

Book on careers in community development (not required and not in Course Reserves):

  • Brophy, P., & Shabecoff, A. (2001). A guide to careers in community development. Washington DC: Island Press.

Optional Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Shaffer, R, Deller, S., & Marcouiller, D.W. (2004). Community economics: Linking theory and practice (2nd ed.). Ames, IA: Blackwell Publishing. Chapter 1 "Defining community economic development" (pp. 1-19 )only.
  • Flora, C.B., Flora, J.L., & Fey, S. (2016). Rural communities: Legacy and change (4th ed.). Boulder: Westview Press. Chapter 12 "Generating community change" (pp. 427-468) only.
  • Warner, P. D. (1989). Professional community development roles. In J.A. Christenson, & J.W. Robinson, Jr. (Eds.), Community development in perspective (pp. 117-135). Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press.

Module 3: Paradigms of Development

Required Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Sachs, J.D. (2015). The end of poverty: Economic possibilities for our time (3rd ed.). New York: The Penguin Press. Chapter 2 "The spread of economic prosperity" (pp. 26-50) only.
  • Langhelle, O. (1999). Sustainable development: Exploring the ethics of "Our Common Future." International Political Science Review, 20 (22), 129-149.
  • Cuthill, M. (2010). Strengthening the 'Social' in Sustainable Development: Developing a Conceptual Framework for Social Sustainability in a Rapid Urban Growth region in Australia. Sustainable Development, 18, 362-373.
  • Sen, A. ( 1999). Development as freedom. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Chapter 1 "The perspective of freedom" (pp.15-34) only.
  • Chowdhry, G. (1999). Engendering development? Women in Development (WID) in international development regimes. In M. Marchand, & and J.L. Parpart (Eds.), Feminism postmodernism development (pp. 26-41). New York: Routledge.

Optional Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Galston, W.A., & Baehler, K.J. (1995). Rural development in the United States: Connecting theory, practice, and possibilities. Washington, DC: Island Press. Chapter 2 "Development: A conceptual framework" (pp. 23-37) and chapter 4 "Development: A political strategy" (pp.61-76) only.

Module 4: Understanding Community Change

Required Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Bender, T. (1978). Community and social change in America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Chapter 1 "Introduction: The meanings of community" (pp. 3-13) only.
  • Luloff, A.E. (1990). Community and social change: How do small communities act? In A.E. Luloff, & .E. Swanson (Eds.), American rural communities (pp.214-227). Boulder: Westview Press.
  • Bridger, J., & Luloff, A.E. (1999). Toward and interactional approach to sustainable development. Journal or Rural Studies, 15 (4), 377-387.
  • Delanty, G. (2010). Community (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. Chapter 1 "Community as an idea: Loss and recovery" (pp. 1-17) and chapter 2 "Community and society: Myths of modernity" (pp. 18-36) only.
  • Shuman, M.H. (2000). Going local: Creating self-reliant communities in a global age. New York: The Free Press. Chapter 1 "Place matters" (pp. 31-50) only.
  • Wilkinson, K.P. (1999) The community in rural America. New York: Greenwood Press. "Introduction" (pp. 1-12) and chapter 1 "The community: An interactional approach" (pp. 13-40) only.

Module 5: Citizens, Government, and Development

Required Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Bowles, S. (2004). Microeconomics: Behavior, institutions, and evolution. New York: Princeton University Press. Chapter 14 "Economic governance: Markets, states, and communities" (pp. 473-501) only.
  • Boyte, H.C. (2004). Everyday politics: Reconnecting citizens and public life. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Chapter 1 "The stirrings of a new politics" (pp. 1-16) and chapter 4 "Citizenship as public work" (pp. 57-76) only.
  • Fiorina, M.P. (1999). Extreme voices: A dark side of civic engagement. In T. Skocpol, & M. Fiorina (Eds.), Civic engagement in American democracy (pp. 395-425). Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.
  • Bridger, J.C., & Alter, T.R. (2006). Place, community development and social Capital. Journal of the Community Development Society, 37 (1): 5-18.
  • Bizjak, I. (2012). Improving Public Participation in Spatial Planning with Web 2.0 tools. Urbani Izziv, 23 (1): 112-124.

Optional Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Swedberg, R. (2003). Principles of economic sociology. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Chapter 8 "Law and economy" (pp. 158-188) only.
  • Miller, D. (2003). Deliberative democracy and social choice. In J.S. Fishkin, & P. Laslett (Eds.) Debating deliberative democracy (pp. 182-199). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Module 6: Conflict and Consensus Models of Society

Required Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Bernard, T. J. (1983). The conflict-consensus debate: Form and content in social theories. New York: Columbia University Press. "Introduction" (pp. 1-29) and Chapter 8 "Parsons and Dahrendorf"(pp. 145-190) only.
  • Harper, C.L.,& K.T. Leight (2011). Exploring social change: America and the World (6th ed). Milton Park, UK: Taylor and Francis. Chapter 2 "The causes and patterns of change" (pp. 13-42) and chapter 3 "Social theory and social change" (pp. 88-112) only
  • Fairhurst, G.T., & Sarr, R.T. (1996). The art of framing: Managing the language of leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Chapter 1 "Framing: Seizing leadership moments in everyday conversations" (pp. 1-22) and chapter 2 "From the inside out: How your own view of reality shapes communication goals" (23-49) only.

Module 7: Stratification and Inequality

Required Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Rank, M. (2004). One nation, underprivileged: Why American poverty affects us all. New York, NY: Oxford Press. Chapter 7 "A New Paradigm" (pp. 169-191 only).
  • Task Force on Persistent Rural Poverty (1993). Persistent poverty in Rural America. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Chapter 4 "Spatial location of economic activities, uneven development, and rural poverty" (pp. 106-135) only.
  • Firebaugh, G. (2003). The new geography of global income inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Chapter 1 "Massive global income inequality: When did it arise and why does it matter?" (pp. 3-14) and chapter 2 "The reversal of historical inequality trends" (pp. 15-30) only.
  • Rothman, R.A. (2005). Inequality and stratification: Race, class and gender (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Chapter 1 "Inequality and social stratification" (pp. 2-25) and chapter 4 "Institutionalizing and legitimizing stratification" (pp. 68-96) only.

Module 8: Community Policymaking and Democracy

Required Readings the Textbook:

  • Taylor, M. (2011). Community in policy and practice. Chapter 3, pp. 22-44, in Public policy in the community. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Taylor, M. (2011). Power in the policy process. Chapter 8, pp. 135-157, in Public policy in the community. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Required Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Tauxe, C.S. (1995). Marginalizing Public Participation in Local Planning: An Ethnographic Account. Journal of American Planning, 61 (4): 471 - 482.
  • Horlings, I., & Padt, F.J.G. (2013). Leadership for sustainable regional development in rural areas: Bridging personal and institutional aspects. Sustainable Development, 21 (6), 413-424.
  • Mills, Roger C. (2005). Sustainable community change: A new paradigm for leadership in community revitalization efforts. National Civic Review , 94 (1), 9-16.
  • Fischer, F. (2000). Citizens, experts, and the environment: The politics of local knowledge. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Chapter 1 "Democratic prospects in an age of expertise: Confronting the technocratic challenge" (pp. 5-28) only.

Optional Readings from the Textbook:

  • Taylor, M. (2011). Experiencing empowerment. Chapter 9, pp. 158-185, in Public policy in the community. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Module 9: Power and Influence in Communities

Required Readings the Textbook:

  • Taylor, M. (2011). Power and empowerment. Chapter 7, pp. 110-134, in Public policy in the community. New York: Palgrave.

Required Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Boulding, K.E. (1989). Three faces of power. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. Chapter 1 "The nature of power" (pp. 15-34).
  • Lyon, L., & Driskell, R. (2012). The community in urban society (2nd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press. Chapter 12 "Community Politics" (pp. 173-190) and chapter 13 "Measuring local power" (pp. 191-201 only)
  • Gaventa, J. (1982). Power and powerlessness: Quiescence and rebellion in an Appalachian Valley. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. Chapter 1 "Power and participation" (pp. 1-32) only.
  • Seitz, V.R. (1995). Women, development and communities for empowerment in Appalachia. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Chapter 1 "Introduction" (pp. 1-13) only.

Optional Readings from the Textbook:

  • Taylor, M. (2011). The challenge for communities. Chapter 12, pp. 240-265, in Public Policy in the Community. New York: Palgrave.

Optional Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Lukes, S. (2005). Power: A radical view (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 3 "Three dimensional power" (pp. 108-150) only.

Module 10: International Community Development

Required Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Abloh, F., & Ameyaw S. (1997). Ghana. In H. Camfens (Ed.), Community development around the world: Practice, theory, research, training (pp. 277-327). University of Toronto Press.
  • Clark, J.D. (2013). Ethical globalization: The dilemmas and challenges of internationalizing civil society. In M. Edwards, & J. Gaventa (Eds.), Global citizen action (pp. 17-28). New York: Earthscan.
  • Perez, N. (2002). Achieving sustainable livelihoods - a case study of a Mexican rural community. Community Development Journal, 37 (2): 178-187.
  • Prokopy, J., & Castelloe, P. (1999). Participatory development: Approaches from the global South and the United States. Journal of the Community Development Society, 30 (2): 213-231.
  • Parpart, J.L. (1995). Deconstructing the development expert: Gender, development and the "vulnerable groups". In M.H. Marchand, & J.L Parpart (Eds.), Feminism / postmodernism / development (pp. 221-241). London, UK: Routledge.

Optional Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Campfens, H. (1999). International review of community development. In H. Campfens (Ed.), Community development around the world: Practice, theory, research, training (pp. 13-46). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Module 11: Research for Community Change, Part 1

Required Readings the Textbook:

  • Stoecker, R. (2013).Research methods for community change: A project-based approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

For this Module, read Stoecker, pp. ix - 101, Acknowledgements through chapter 4
Next Module, read Stoecker, pp. 103 -214, chapters 5 through 8.

Beginning list of sources for applied/practitioner oriented studies (Please let others in the class know of other possible resources you have identified):

Case studies or program evaluations are a very important resource, but where can they be found? There are some published, refereed journals that include articles based on applied research. But, much of this applied, community-based research ends up in books, reports to sponsors, or in reports of work funded or conducted by centers or various non-profit organizations. Most journal articles about applied research projects will reference a longer report that likely contains a lot more of the 'gory details' about what actually happened. We have identified a few journals that regularly include articles based on practice related to community and economic development.

  • Journal of the Community Development Society
  • Community Development Journal
  • Journal of Extension

Articles on practice or program evaluation sometimes appear in the following journals:

  • Journal of American Planning Association
  • Journal of Soil and Water Conservation

The web is truly our friend in these searches. Typing in a phrase such as 'rural entrepreneurship' quickly identifies web sites and reports authored in various non-profit organizations, or university-related centers, including programs and materials developed by Cooperative Extension Educators. The first page of that search listed fifteen resources specifically on rural entrepreneurship. Only a few were duplicates. You will need to wade through some junk, but typically centers related to universities or state or federal government, or non-profit centers or institutes that have longer histories are reliable sources of information.

While you are a Penn State student you also have access to the full resources of Pattee Library. By using the electronic access to journals from the Libraries main home page, you can access published journal articles on specific topics. You will need to sort through these to find those specifically related to practice. Take note of research-focused articles that relate specifically to the topic, as well. There are times that research findings can be very useful in making the case for a grant proposal or for helping community residents understand the consequences of particular actions--at least as they have occurred in other places

Module 12: Research for Community Change, Part 2

Required Readings the Textbook:

  • Stoecker, R. (2013). Research methods for community change: A project-based approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Last week you read Stoecker, pp. ix - 101, Acknowledgements through chapter 4

This week, read Stoecker, pp. 103 -214, chapters 5 through 8 Again...

Module 13: Community Development Practice

Required Readings from Course Reserves:

  • Daniels, T. L., Keller, J.W., Lapping, M.B., Daniels, K., & Segedy, J. (2007). The small town planning handbook (3rd ed.). Chicago: The American Planning Association. Chapter 4 "Determining community goals and objectives" (pp. 31-56) only.
  • Hyman, D., McKnight, J., & Higdon, F. (2001). Doing democracy: Conflict and consensus strategies for citizens, organizations and communities. Gabriola Island, Canada: New Society Publishers. Chapter 9 "Two models of organizing and implementation: Locality development and social Action" (pp. 217-248).
  • Kretzmann, J.P., & J.L. McKnight, J.L. (1993). Building Communities from the Inside out: A path toward finding and mobilizing a community's assets. "Asset-based community development: Mobilizing an entire community" (pp. 345-354).
  • Reybold, L.E,. & Herren, R.V. (1999). Education and action in Magnolia Community: Rethinking community development. Journal of the Community Development Society, 30, (1): pp. 1-14.

Integrative Essays

There are three integrative essays:

  1. Foundations of Community Development, due after Module 3

Select issues or ideas you see as critical to the foundations of community development (content from Modules 1-3) and most interesting to you. Describe how these issues or ideas are presented in the readings and how the concepts can be applied to a community development issue or opportunity with which you are familiar. Submit a three (3) page essay to the appropriate Assignment page.

  1. Democracy and Society, due after Module 6

Select issues or ideas you see as critical to democracy and society (content from Modules 4-6) within community development and most interesting to you. Describe how these issues or ideas are presented in the readings and how the concepts can be applied to a community development issue or opportunity with which you are familiar. Submit a three (3) page essay to the appropriate Assignment page.

  1. Community, Policymaking and Power, due after Module 9

Select issues or ideas you see as critical to Community, Policymaking, and Power (content from Modules 7-9) within community development and most interesting to you. Describe how these issues or ideas are presented in the readings and how the concepts can be applied to a community development issue or opportunity with which you are familiar. Submit a three (3) page essay to the appropriate Assignment page.

Final Integrative Essay

For your final essay, select a key idea, theory, or principle discussed in the course (of special interest to you) and demonstrate its application in a practical context. This essay should highlight your understanding of the primary source readings on the essay topic, and your own field experience.

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