Monday, December 16, 2013

Definitions - what does it mean to develop?

As I've explained before, I love cities/urban areas, and am interested in many facets of them - their physical environment, economic stability,  and the social wellbeing of its people.

"Local Economic Development" is getting to be a pretty buzzy idea for many academics and in the practice-isms of government and economic directors.

What IS local economic development?

Image from the World Bank's website

There are MULTIPLE definitions, that emphasize different aspects. Perhaps this lends itself to the fact that local economic development is very multidisciplinary - economics, geography, sociology, political sciece...etc

Definition #1: Social justice development

“Development means making a better life for everyone. In the present context of a highly uneven world, a better life for most people means, essentially, meeting basic needs: sufficient food to maintain good health; a safe, healthy place in which to live; affordable services available to everyone; and being treated with dignity and respect.

This definition  understands development needing to provide more people beyond their basic needs. 
Beyond meeting these needs, basic to human survival, the course taken by development is subject to the material and cultural visions of different societies. The methods and purposes of development are subject to popular, democratic decision making.”  - Peet and Hartwick (2009:1)

Defintion #2: Wealth development

“Economic development: the ongoing process of creating wealth in which producers deploy scarce human, financial, capital, physical and natural resources to produce goods and services that consumers want and are willing to pay for.
“Process of national wealth creation for the benefit of local consumers and producers [through] either the expansion of job opportunities and tax base or the efficient redeployment of local resources ” – Malizia (1994: 84)

Is there some middle ground between these two definitions? Definitely. See my next post!

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