Describe the factors that make a geographic area a “community” or not. Why are some geographic areas considered communities, while others or not?

by | Sep 15, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

The paper should adhere to APA format guidelines, using the subtitles below to
divide each section:
 Describe the factors that make a geographic area a “community” or not. Why are some geographic areas considered communities, while others or not?
 Why should professional social workers understand communities from a professional perspective? How does such an understanding help the community generally, and/or the specific persons and families living within it?
Community Demographics
 Identify the name, general location, and any major landmarks of the community herein focused upon.
Include a map as an appendix if it would help the reader “picture” the location. What makes this geographic area a “community”?
 Research the demographics of the community, and share the data you perceive to be the most important in accurately representing this community.
o “Demographics” are statistical, quantifiable measures that describe a community’s population, and include such data as total number of residents, population density, breakdowns of ethnicity and religion, median incomes, rents and home prices, poverty and crime rates, educational attainment, renters vs. owners, immigrant vs. native born, etc. Not all demographic data is inherently meaningful, and the importance of certain facts may need to be explained. Make sure to use reliable sources and recent data.
 Assess why the demographics you shared are important for the people who live or work or visit this community. What is the daily impact these data could have on the persons and families living in this community? What are some of the potential impacts these data could have on professional social workers working in agencies that serve this area?
Community Strengths, Weaknesses and Grand Challenges for Social Work
 Identify and describe the major community strengths, weaknesses and Grand Challenges faced by this community. A community strength is an attribute that helps and supports a community, with little to no negative impacts. A weakness is a negative condition or situation that has been accepted by the people there, who just “make due” dealing with it. Generally, a challenge is a negative condition or situation in the community that at least some people want to interact with and improve; the Grand Challenges for Social
Work identifies 12 major community challenges that the profession seeks to focus upon and improve (see
Limit the strengths, weaknesses and challenges to no more than three each. Chapter 5 of Bruce Jansson’s
Social Welfare Policy and Advocacy (2nd ed), pages 108-113, may be one helpful lens from which to view
community strengths, weaknesses and challenges. Ideas on other aspects you may deem appropriate to
include (but are not limited to):
o Health care providers, including clinics, hospitals, urgent care, mental health facilities, etc. Are these located
locally, or must residents travel for these services? How effective are these outlets?
o Employment centers, business and industry in the area: are businesses part of large chains and corporations,
or are they more entrepreneurial “mom and pop shops,” or a combination thereof? Do the people of the area
work in their community, or travel elsewhere for jobs?
o Policing and other resources – useable parks, obvious child care, fresh food outlets, churches, community
pools, affordable housing – that serve to create community security (or insecurity): are there ample local
o Educational opportunities available in the area: head starts, pre-schools, K-12 schools, higher education,
adult classes, etc. Are these opportunities effective? How so, or not?
o Social services: are there obvious sources of support or aid for families from local social service agencies
and/or government offices?
o Special designation: does the community has some sort of official or informal designation – i.e. does it have
its own name (ie “Little Tokyo”), or an historic designation, or some special cultural resonance?
 Assess the extent these strengths, weaknesses and challenges impact the demographic data you shared in
the previous section. Also, how do these strengths, weaknesses and challenges impact the daily lives of
those that reside here?
Community Leadership and Decision-making
 Who are the leaders of the community?
o Formal leaders are those vested with authority to make decisions on behalf of the community and
the people who live therein: elected officials (members of the city council, the mayor, state and
federal representatives, the school board, etc.); and those who have formal delegated powers, such
as the local police, prosecutors, school principals, etc. These people are empowered to decide how
to spend tax money. Who are they, how long have the represented the area, do any of them seem to
have any public-interested accomplishments? To what extent do these formal leaders interact with
and seek to improve this community – and if so, how do you know?
o Informal leaders are those that seek to have a community influence despite having no official
power: community activists, church pastors, heads of businesses or business associations, media or
newspaper editors, etc. Does the community seem to have an active, “informal” leadership base? If
Updated 2021 08 Dr. Stacy Kratz
so, who are they, what are their issues, and have they been impactful or not (and how do you know,
if so)?
o If feasible, interviews with community members, agency staff, congregants, etc. – even informally –
can be a solid introduction about community “leadership.”
 Assess whether these leaders are effective in improving the conditions of the families who live here. Based
on your research, can you identify any connection(s) between the presence (or not) of community
leadership and the demographic data you found, and the strengths/weaknesses/challenges you assessed?
Reflection and Conclusion
 What is your thesis of how well (or not) this community functions? A “thesis” is a theory you put forward
of how something works, and you support your theory with some type of evidence. Does the community
seem well-integrated, decently managed, supportive and healthy? Or is it otherwise? Or somewhere in the
middle? After you share your thesis, briefly support it with evidence from what you’ve research in the
prompts above.
 If you worked in this community as a professional social worker, what would be the first couple issues you
would seek to improve? Why?

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