Participation in community development is an important part of maintaining a democratic society, allowing each person to be an active member of local, national, and international communities. The role of community development is to allow each member of a society an opportunity to put forward ideas and take part in initiatives that are designed to improve the world around him or her. Citizens are not barred from taking part in development because of social factors, such as race, color, religion, or disabilities.
Allowing citizens to actively participate in the development of a community improves both the individual's position and role within society and the community as a whole. Participating citizens have a higher level of self-esteem and become knowledgeable about their communities and the projects being employed. Specific talents and knowledge of individuals within a community can be utilized to decide upon the best course of action for community development.
Citizen participation in community development can take a large number of forms, from paying taxes and obeying laws to taking part in charitable activities. By actively participating, the chances of a ruling elite governing every aspect of a community are reduced. Curbing the power of a governing elite stops decisions from being made that benefit only those with political and economic power at the cost of those with less education and economic advantages. Opportunities for nepotism and political kickbacks are also reduced when all members of society actively participate in the development of a community.
Business opportunities are increased for all members of a community when participation levels are high. Increased opportunity to take part in business choices allows the development of a community to be diverse and not focused upon a single business or economic venture. Participation in community development by economically disadvantaged members of society provides them with opportunities to take part in business ventures that can improve their economic position within their community.
Many people feel an obligation to take part in the development of their community in order to make the world that they live in better for themselves and their neighbors. Participation in community development by a large number of people within a community ensures one philosophy or ideology does not dominate the activities of a community. By taking part in the political and economic decisions of a community, the decision-making process for the community is open for its members to see and ensures that democratic principles are maintained. All groups within a community can be represented both politically and economically.