Singapore University of Social Sciences

Approaches to Community Development

Approaches to Community Development (SWK361)


Community development is a methodology involving geographic, demographic, social, cultural, or psychological communities. Members come together to generate social solutions to common or shared problems in order to influence decisions or take action to positively affect their lives or improve their environment. Community development promotes active, representative, and inclusive participation of community members. In an earlier course (SWK293 Social Work Practice and Skills Lab 3: Working with Organisations and Communities), students are introduced to three community practice models: locality development, social planning, and social action. SWK361e Approaches to Community Development examines community development practice in greater depth. Students learn various theoretical perspectives; social work approaches, community development in Singapore; expanded understanding of community; and new community groups. The course aims to deliver a theoretical and evolutionary understanding of community development theory and history. This provides the necessary background to SWK362 Community Development: Practices and Strategies, which is a practice-oriented module preparing the social worker to engage in community development social work.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July


  • A Framework for Community Development
  • Theories of Community Development
  • Approaches to Community Development globally and regionally
  • Social Work Community Development Practice
  • Community Development Concepts in Singapore
  • History of Local Community Development Practice
  • Singapore’s cultural and socio-political context
  • Challenges of Community Development Process in the Local Context
  • Dynamics and Development of Community
  • Perspectives on Community Development with Specific Groups
  • New Community Groups in Singapore and their needs
  • Community Development Assessments

Learning Outcome

  • Categorise community development theoretical perspectives.
  • Analyse the development of community development globally, regionally, and locally.
  • Discuss the concept and expanding character of community.
  • Examine the development and aspirations of new community groups.
  • Apply community development theories to the needs of specific communities.
  • Apply community development practice to Singapore’s cultural and socio-political context.
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