Community development is often broadly defined as the bettering of a community's social, political and economic assets. Community—and economic—development is also a key government function, especially at the local level. Public managers working in this area face unique administrative challenges. Public administration scholarship and practice can help managers solve these challenges and better their communities. To facilitate discussion within public administration, a number of members are looking to form a Community and Economic Development Section within ASPA.

Before these efforts begin, ASPA members are invited to participate in an online study examining how community development is both practiced and taught in the public affairs field, while also gauging interest in developing this dedicated Section. A better understanding of how practitioners and scholars define, and therefore teach and practice, community development will improve knowledge about this subject in the public sector, allowing for improved community development policy and practice in the future.