What Is Development?


Development is a process of growth or improvement that adds value to something. It encompasses economic, environmental and social components. The end result is a rise in the standard of living and quality of life without damaging the environment or natural resources. Development can be seen in many ways, such as the construction of an airport or the expansion of a company’s market.

In the field of economics, development is a global process that takes place through a complex interplay of government and markets. The concept of development was formulated by the international community through the Millennium Declaration and subsequent Sustainable Development Goals.

While the debate around development continues, a consensus has emerged that both state and markets play important roles in achieving sustainable and equitable growth. In addition, the recent recognition that markets are not enough has sparked a renewed debate on the importance of institutions and governance.

Some theorists view development as continuous, meaning that it is a gradual process of improvement. This can be seen in a child growing taller year by year, or a company increasing its revenue and profits over time. Other theorists, however, see development as discontinuous, meaning that it occurs in unique stages. This can be seen in an infant’s learning of object permanence.

The development process requires a team of professionals, such as architects, landscape architects, civil engineers and site planners to address the project design; market consultants to analyze demand and a project’s economics; soils engineers to determine the site’s physical limitations; surveyors to provide legal descriptions of the land; and contractors and developers to put architectural plans into action. Purchasing unused land with the intention of developing it is known as speculative development.