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Community development explored by MSU expert
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Research by the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University has been included in a new book about positive approaches to community development.
“Mobilizing Communities: Asset Building as a Community Development Strategy” includes a chapter by SRDC director Lionel “Bo” Beaulieu and his colleague Mark Harvey, assistant sociology professor at Florida Atlantic University. Harvey completed his post-doctoral work at SRDC and was an assistant research professor at MSU.
The book is geared toward community development practitioners and economic development organizations. It explores how community-based organizations can take a positive approach to addressing concerns, such as economic challenges, political changes, housing needs and welfare programs.
Beaulieu and Harvey’s chapter, “Implementing Community Development in the Mississippi Delta: The Effect of Organizations on Resident Participation,” explores two approaches to implement community development in the Mississippi Delta. One approach involves a regional philanthropic foundation providing grassroots resident empowerment. The other is a closely managed top-down method conducted by a community development financial institution.
“Community-based initiatives in lower socio-economic communities have faced great challenges and achieved limited success,” Beaulieu said. “We looked at two different approaches in one of the nation’s most impoverished regions to better understand the barriers these initiatives face and what strengths and weaknesses these organizations have in terms of overcoming these barriers.”
The chapter provides an in-depth look at the research findings and highlights the difficulty of community building in places that are plagued by a long history of social conflict.
The book is published by Temple University Press.
Writer: Karen Templeton