Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Geoffrey Nelson

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


First, this study documents the context and process of community development by using the Southwood Neighbourhood Association (SWNA) within the Southwest Cambridge community in Cambridge, Ontario as an illustration. The community context is defined and described in terms of its physical and demographic characteristics, its social-relational features, and the psychological sense of community. Five key stages in the process of community development are identified and illustrated in the development of the SWNA. Second, this study documents the process of development of an inter-agency, community-based primary prevention research project proposal. This research is viewed as part of the community development process in Southwest Cambridge, because Southwest Cambridge is the site of the proposed project; the SWNA is the central component or structure; and this initiative hopes to expand on the community development activities of the SWNA. Qualitative interviews, participant-observations, and archival sources were utilized for data collection. Interviews were conducted with citizens and service providers and participant-observations were carried out in Southwest Cambridge, in general, at the SWNA, and on the research planning committee. An analysis of the context and process revealed dynamic and interdependent relationships between the three elements of the context and between the context and the process of development of the SWNA and the research proposal. The effectiveness of the process of development of the SWNA and the research proposal is assessed in terms of the three key principles of community development: instilling community ownership, utilizing a goal-oriented, open, and flexible process, and fulfillment of community-felt needs. Process-oriented research of this type, which provides a rich description of the context and process of a social intervention, is lacking in the community psychology literature. Therefore, this study can be a valuable resource to community psychologists who are interested in the theory and practice of community development. As important, this research can be an educational and inspirational resource for the participants in the community development efforts and other community groups who are interested in initiating a neighbourhood association.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season