Community development policy represents the ideas and structure that allow municipalities to grow and flourish. It is common for these policies to start at the global, regional, or local level, with each type bringing its own benefits and drawbacks. Citizens are typically responsible for driving the actions that lead to community development policy. The policy at each level may be broad at the start and then narrow as it gets closer to local-level policies because the latter are generally for well-defined areas. Community development is often necessary to strengthen a municipality and increase the standard of living of surrounding citizens.
Global community development policy does not necessarily mean worldwide or international, though that may be part of this process. In most cases, this type of policy occurs at the federal level and allows a great number of local municipalities to apply for help. Municipalities may qualify for funds or programs that allow for the improvement of certain facilities or local organizations. A federal agency may also be responsible for helping low-end municipalities to grow and improve, ultimately solving problems in an area through global improvements. Not all communities may use these policies unless they desire to do so.
Regional community development policy starts with a defined state or other locale. For example, in the United States, each state has the capability to define community development policy for the local municipalities in their region. This allows a state or other local region to create policy that plays to the strengths of the region’s resources and number of citizens. Citizens can also play a more important role here due to their ability to have a better knowledge of the local surroundings. Additionally, citizens may be more keen to developing their local municipality as the funds paid in taxes go directly to the facilities used by citizens.
Local community development policy may be more citizen-driven than the other types. Here, local businesses, corporations, and faith-based institutions start initiatives that help develop a local municipality. The funds received may not come from taxes but donations from these agencies and institutions, along with individual citizens. Citizens who wish to engage personally in community development policy may optimize the process as the people define the direction of their community, not politicians or bureaucrats in a distant location. Additionally, using donations does not increase taxes in the long term, saving citizens money once developments are complete.