This segment provides a research-based review of concepts and definitions of community vitality, community development, community economic development and economic development. Definitions from prominent community development professionals are presented. A “white paper” concludes with a summary of selected definitions which are compared to provide evidence of the many similarities and subtle differences in the definition of these important concepts. A working definition of community vitality is provided:
“Community Vitality-Defined as the community’s collective capacity to respond to change with an enhanced level of participation (a process) with aspirations for a healthy and productive community (an outcome or vision of success).”
This segment recognizes that the concept of community vitality is an evolving notion subject to wide ranging interpretation. Interactive exercises to share perspectives and contribute to a UW Extension definition and model of community vitality are part of this segment. It builds on the model for capacity building from Segment 1.