Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Edward Jepson

Committee Members

Cecilia Zanetta, Timothy Ezell


This study began as an exploration of the fields of Economic Development and Community Development. By researching an extensive selection of literature, the two terms were defined and the disciplines expounded upon. The two were then compared and contrasted in their relationship to each other and their relationship to the field of Planning. A matrix was developed from the literary findings of the various functions of each field in relation to several community issues.

Eight cities, selected from two population groups and four regions, were examined as case studies, to compare the functions of actual Community Development, Economic Development, and Planning Departments with those mentioned in the literature. Other city departments were researched as well, to see if they performed any of the functions given in the developed matrix.

From the literature, it was determined that Community Development, Economic Development, and Planning are three distinct fields, with some overlap of functionality among the three. Thus a hypothesis was formulated that cities would have separate departments for the three areas, though they may work closely together. In the case studies, however, it was discovered that none of the cities had three separate departments of Community Development, Economic Development, and Planning. Some cities, such as Lawton, Oklahoma, had two of the three departments, while some cities, such as San Buenaventura, California, had only one of three (that performed several overarching functions). In all of the cities, there was an overlapping of functions. Thus, the hypothesis proved to be false in that though the literature considers the three to be separate fields, this is not truly applied in the real world. The functions of the three may be utilized: however, they may be applied by experts of another field, e.g. Community developers may facilitate economic development and/or planning.


Degree listed as Master of Science in Planning with major in Planning.

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