How Community Development Education Can Build Capacity: The Case of the Urban Developers Program

Janet Smith and Rachel Weber
Urban Planning and Policy Program
University of Illinois at Chicago

The views expressed in this report represent those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the
Great CitiesInstitute or the University of Illinois at Chicago.


The future of affordable housing in the US depends on the capacity of community development corporations (CDCs) to maintain the existing stock and to develop additional units. This article examines three different approaches to delivering community development education– workshops and short courses, traditional professional education programs, and hybrid programs– to enhance different forms of CDC capacity.  Each embodies a different philosophy of acquiring conceptual and operational knowledge in the community development field.  We present a case study of the Urban Developers Program, a certificate program offered jointly by the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Chicago Rehab Network, to illustrate how hybrid programs can enhance skills and competencies while providing an opportunity for practitioners to be reflective and to critically assess development-related tools and strategies.

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