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Home » Community Development » Terminology & Definitions

Terminology & Definitions

Community Area Inventory

Type of Group:

Predominantly Citizen Initiated

  • Those Predominantly Citizen Initiated Groups (community groups whose membership is predominantly community residents i.e. tenants associations, specific neighbourhood groups, special interest groups, parent councils etc.)

Predominantly Interagency Initiated

  • Those Predominantly Interagency Initiated Groups (community groups whose membership is predominantly made up of human service agencies, businesses etc. which are located in the community i.e. interagency groups etc.)

Stakeholder Population and Program Team Inventory

Type of Group:

  • WRHA Established Citizen / Client Group
  • Any community advisory group / committee that your program team has established to formalize and seek public input and;
  • Community Established Citizen / Client Group
  • Those community based organizations (more formal, such as the MS Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, etc.) that program teams have a working/consultation relationship with.


Assets of community participation: are target resources, increased responsiveness, increased competence and capacity, better decision-making, extends the democratic process, creativity and innovation.

Community based: usually described as a program or service defined and designed by an organization but situated within a community environment (WRHA, Community Development and Public Participation Paper, 2003).

Citizen: person with no immediate involvement with the issue at hand. Citizens in22clude the general public and media. (CRHA, 1999)

Community capacity-building: is development work – involving training and providing resources – that strengthens the ability of community organizations and groups to build structures, systems and skills that enable them to participate and take community actions (Skinner, 1997).

Community development: is a way of working underpinned by a commitment to equity, social justice, participation and empowerment that enables people to identify common concerns and that supports them in taking action related to them. (WHO, 1999)

Community development underpins: the essential process for creating health in a community and participation is an integral component that is critical to a community development framework. Participation is part of the structure and system elements and can allow decision-makers and leaders to articulate the community, citizen and stakeholder role within decision-making.

Community participation: is a process by which people are enabled to become actively and genuinely involved in defining the issues of concern to them, in making decisions about factors that affect their lives, in formulating and implementing policies in planning, developing and delivering services and taking action to achieve a change. (WHO, 1999)

Consultation: often forms an integral part of statutory urban planning processes and involves people being referred to for information and asked their opinions. Although this implies that communities’ vies may be taken into consideration, it has not generally meant that people are actively engaged in the decision-making process. (WHO, 1999)

Empowerment: is a process whereby individuals or communities gain confidence, self-esteem and power to articulate their concerns and ensure that action is taken to address them. Its practice often draws inspiration from Friere’s philosophy of conscientization (Friere, 1996; Abbot, 1996).

Horizontal integration: occurs when tow or more separate organizations, producing the same service or product (healthier communities), join to become either a single organization or a stronger inter-organizational alliance (Conrad & Shortell, 1996)

Intersectoral Action for Health: exists when “the formalized institutional structures which constitute a sector, develop a recognized relationship between part or parts of the health sector and part or parts of another sector, that has been formed to take action on an issue or achieve health outcomes in a way that is more effective, efficient or sustainable than could be achieved by the health sector working alone.” (WHO, 1992, as sited in WRHA, Community Development and Public Participation Paper, 2003).

Intrasectoral: can be defined as work within the health sector that supports a shared vision and service coordination resulting in increased integration (WRHA, Community Development and Public Participation Paper, 2003).

Involvement: is a term often used synonymously with participation. It implies being included as a necessary part of something. (WHO, 1999)

Organizational Capacity Building: is the work that strengthens and enables an organization to build its structures, systems, people and skills so that it is better able to define and achieve objectives while engaging in consultation and planning with the community, and taking part in partnerships. It includes aspects of training, organizational development and resource building (WRHA, Community Development and Public Participation Paper, 2003)

Public participation: the process by which public concerns, needs and values are incorporated into governmental decision making. Public participation is a two-way communication with the overall goal of better decisions, support by the public. Participation processes may be single event or they may be embedded in long-term system activities or partnership processes. Adequate public information is always a central element in any public participation program (CRHA, 1999).

Social Capital: often refers to community networks or associations. “Community organizing can create social capital through combining energies, enhancing networks and highlighting communities through networks and the trust they engender and relied on citizen participation in creating healthy families ad communities” (Coleman, 1988 as sited in WRHA, Community Development and Public Participation Paper, 2003).

Stakeholders: persons who have a personal stake in the issue at that time. Stakeholders include but are not limited to providers, clients, organizations, expert advisors, and politicians (WRHA, Community Development and Public Participation Paper, 2003).

System Integration best practices include: developing a shared vision, mastering the skills of system thinking, learn about system dynamics, managing change and management skills, developing high performance multidisciplinary teams, and integrating primary care physicians (Ball, 1996).

Vertical integration (Intrasectoral): is the coordination of the care of a given person over time and is the sine qua non of vertical integration (Conrad, 1993). Parallel system-level integration of management and organizational support (for clinical and non-clinical services) as well as strategy formation and governance is required to attain effective vertical integration. Vertical integration demands a system capacity to plan, deliver, monitor and adjust the care of an individual or community over time (Conrad, 1993).