In this month’s blog, we will review the model of community organizing, social planning. As mentioned in the previous blog, locality development is a self-help model that places great emphasis on community involvement and reaching consensus. By contrast, social planning emphasizes logical problem solving and is usually directed by professionals who have specialized expertise to address community issues (Rothman, 2001).
Social planning identifies the needs of the community and determines ways to improve the quality of life in the community. Emphasis is placed on specific tasks such as identification of the problem, conducting research, as well as gathering and analyzing data related to social concerns.
The social planning approach postulates that because community needs can be complex, it requires expert planners to take responsibility for resolving problems. These professionals may function as a fact gatherer, analyst, program implementer, and facilitator. They may work alongside policy-makers and service providers to develop or change policies, set up specific programs or services, and allocate resources to help build healthier communities.
Though community participation may vary depending on the problem and circumstances, emerging social planning model sees collaborations as necessary. Empowerment occurs when those affected are involved in addressing challenges. Bringing together key people, including residents within the community, around a specific problem allows professionals to gain greater community knowledge and understanding of the issue.
Overall, the social planning approach is focused on identifying needs, allocation of resources, planning and developing programs to meet the needs of the community.
Rothman, J., (2001). Approaches to community intervention. In J. Rothman, J. Erlich, & J. Tropman (Eds.), Strategies of community intervention: Macro practice pp. 27-64 (6th ed.). Itasca, IL: F. E. Peacock Publishers, Inc