• Voluntary and Open Membership.

  • Democratic Member Control.

  • Member Economic Participation.

  • Autonomy and Independence.

  • Education, Training, and Information.

  • Cooperation among Cooperatives.

  • Concern for Community


(with our thanks to Jim Ife)

Community Development is based on three foundations:

Ecological sustainability

  • Genuinely sustainable structures and relationships

  • Diversity

  • Equilibrium

  • Holism

Social Justice:

  • A vision of a fairer society

  • Human rights

  • Empowerment

  • Inclusion

  • Post-Enlightenment thinking:

Postmodernism: beyond certainty, order, and ‘best practice’

  • Relational reality

  • What we can learn from Indigenous people (connection to land and place, a sense of the sacred, wisdom of elders, stories, decision-making and yarning)


Community Development challenges dominant individualism

It celebrates interdependence rather than independence

It seeks to understand our humanity collectively as well as individually

It works through the importance of relationship

It emphasises dialogue and dialogical action

It asks not ‘what can I do?’ but ‘what can we do?’


Community Development works ‘from below’

It values the wisdom, knowledge and expertise of the community itself

“The community knows best”

It values process rather than outcomes. Good process will ensure good outcomes.

It works with the community’s strength and resilience: Asset based not deficit based.


Community Development resists colonising and colonialist practice

It does not impose a world view as superior

It seeks to ‘reverse the gap’ rather than ‘close the gap’

Revolution by asking, not by telling (a Zapatista saying)


Community Development works using Head, Heart, Hands and Feet (...and dare we add gut!)