What Is Development?


Development is a process that creates growth, progress and positive change in the physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components of a community or country. It aims to raise people’s living standards and self-esteem and to improve the availability of quality health, education, housing, and employment opportunities.

Development has many different underlying theories and research methods. For example, lifespan theorists view human development as a lifelong process that takes place across multiple dimensions and contexts.

In a more biological and evolutionary theory, psychologists see development as a gradual and continuous process that is shaped by brain development and environmental experiences. For example, if a child learns to walk, it’s because he or she has learned to use the brain and its environment to do so.

Some theorists, such as behaviorists and Vygotsky, see developmental changes as happening gradually, from birth to adulthood. This means that a child will begin to use more complex skills, such as reading and writing, at a younger age than an adult would.

Another way of thinking about development is in terms of an ecological system, where a community or region’s economic, environmental, and social structure are all part of a larger system that interacts with each other. For example, if there are too few trees in a rainforest, it can negatively affect the area’s economy.

Some theorists also view development as an emergent property of a society and its economy, much like consciousness is an emergent property of the human brain. For example, if there’s an imbalance in the amount of money in a society, it can cause the economy to develop differently than it would have if there weren’t imbalances.