Economic Development Article Review

Economic Development Article Review

Clay and Jones (2009) provide a brief overview of the history of community economic development (CED). The main purpose of the article is to analyze the emergence and growth of CED, tracing its roots from the pre-civil rights era. The first part of the article includes a broad definition of CED. Community economic development refers to a strategy having a broad range of programs and activities that aim at improving the welfare of the citizens. Some CED programs aim at improving the welfare of citizens living in low-income areas. Other programs seek to transform small local businesses into larger commercial enterprises for the benefit of the owners and the community at large. CED also includes programs that aim at curbing drug abuse, homelessness, crime, unemployment, and to improve the health of children. In general, CED involves initiatives that seek to improve the living standards of individuals and communities.

Clay and Jones (2009) assert that CED is a broader concept that touches on almost every aspect of the citizens’ lives. CED goes beyond the purely economic principles that govern the development and growth of a country by including a wide range of community improvement aspects. For instance, some initiatives aim at eliminating drug abuse while others seek to curtail violence against community members. Community economic development is more localized in the sense that the various initiatives seek to directly transform the lives of people living in particular areas. This differs from the economic principles that largely aim at improving the standards of living in the entire country. CED mainly involves improving local lives through job creating, providing affordable houses, promoting local businesses, and in other ways. An important point to note is that CED initiatives target both the rural and urban areas.

The article largely focuses on the emergence of the CED concept. According to Clay and Jones (2009), the CED concept emerged in the 1960s following concerns that low income communities were suffering neglect. Activists helped in pushing for the inclusion of local populations in decision making with the aim of improving the overall standards of living. The Federal Government played a crucial role in supporting the CED initiative during its early years. In the 1970s, the concept expanded further to include the improvement of both rural and urban communities. The early initiatives primarily focused on business improvement, manufacturing, and development of the workforce. Later, CED included affordable housing as one of its key initiatives. With time, other initiatives or programs have been added for the development of the community.

Prior to the emergence of the CED concept in the 1960s, various forces had come into play culminating into the CED concept. Clay and Jones (2009) trace the early developments of the CED concept to the pre-civil rights era in the 1900s. During this period, there were efforts by some individuals in the political class to empower African Americans who had gained freedom. These individuals encouraged African Americans to seek economic self-sufficiency through programs and initiatives that would improve their entrepreneurial skills and accord them with appropriate training for the job market. Skill development was seen as integral in enhancing the advancement of the African American community. Throughout the early 1900s, civil rights activism further helped to push for economic advancement of the African Americans. This culminated in the CED concept in the 1960s.


Clay, R. A., & Jones, S. R. (2009). A brief history of community economic development.Journal             of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law, 18(3), 257-267.


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