This knowledge synthesis is part of The Monieson Centre’s Knowledge Impact in Society (KIS) Project, a three‐year endeavour to connect academic knowledge with economic development needs in Eastern Ontario. The synthesis is an accessible presentation of the latest research on issues affecting rural Eastern Ontario. The knowledge synthesis topics were determined through information gathered at 15 community workshops run in partnership with the Eastern Ontario Community Futures Development Corporation network. The KIS Project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
A structured approach to economic development is a key priority for all stakeholders of communities who are looking to grow in a sustainable fashion. Basic goals include increasing economic activity, improving employment prospects and increasing the standard of living. Sound planning of this sort is complex and challenging in the sense that it encompasses a number of different spheres, including social, economic, and environmental, that interact to determine success. A piecemeal approach that only considers parts of the overall system will inevitably lead to outcomes that are far removed from potential levels of success.
Community Economic Development (CED) is a holistic planning approach which has gained prominence over the past fifteen years. At its core, it aims to shift control of the local economy away from the larger market. This approach acknowledges that economic development in communities is intimately connected with political, social and environmental issues and attempts to consider all of these in unison, rather than developing actions specific to one of these spheres that assume each to be isolated from the others.
The following paper series was developed to highlight the importance of CED for local stakeholders and to provide them with basic concepts and principles they can use to guide the effective planning of their communities. Part I describes the foundations and basic principles of CED.