Fresh perspectives in community development: Community-based system dynamics: An essential tool in the community development toolbox

Individual Author(s) / Organizational Author
O'Neill, Ellen
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
August 2017
Abstract / Description

The world of community development is often complex, requiring savvy professionals able to navigate a complicated web of interdependent issues such as housing, generational poverty, financial capability, social and economic mobility, employment and education. As community development professionals, we trade in systems—systems of complex social problems hosting many different actors, policies, programs, assets and resources. Donella Meadows, a scholar in the field of system dynamics, defines a system as a set of things—people, cells, molecules, etc.—interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behavior over time. The communities we serve are not facing challenges accompanied by simple solutions. We operate in complex systems, no matter which community we call ours. This is why community-based system dynamics (CBSD) is a critical tool in our professional community development toolbox. (author abstract) 


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