2023 CDS Conference

July 16 - 19 in Portland, Oregon

After a cancelled 2020 conference followed by two virtual conferences, we are extremely excited to be gathering together in person with our co-hosts Portland State University and Oregon State University. We look forward to seeing old friends and welcoming many new members. We hope you will join us!

Watch for registration information in Spring of 2023, but please consider submitting a proposal today to present at the conference.

Conference Theme

'Hood and Holler: Similarities and Differences in Urban and Rural Community Development

The Community Development Society (CDS) is the longest standing professional society in the field, having been founded in 1969, amidst an era of social change. Today, CDS embraces a renewed commitment to social justice, solidarity, and equity centered community change. For our professional Society, this requires revising our Principles of Good Practice with a broader membership, changing how we operate, and expanding what we offer to our Members and the field of practice.

The field of Community Development is fragmented by many disciplinary homes, areas of specialization, and geographic emphases. By convening around shared visions of community quality of life, health, resilience, justice, and sustainability, we can find new ways to enhance the community development ecosystem and industry. Systemic improvement is sought through cross-pollination among activists, practitioners, and scholars; across numerous types of expertise in community building, community development, and community economic development; and across civic, public, nonprofit, and private sectors.

The 2023 conference theme, ‘Hood and Holler: Similarities and Differences in Urban and Rural Community Development, provides an exciting opportunity for this type of exchange and mutual learning. We seek to lift up histories of economic exploitation and disinvestment, cultural and institutional marginalization, and structural power differentials that shape urban and rural communities alike. While challenges and opportunities in urban and rural communities can differ dramatically, many similarities are found, including how systems of privilege perpetuate:

  • Poverty, income inequalities, and wealth gaps
  • Disparities in health and educational outcomes
  • Uneven burdens of environmental hazards and impacts of climate change
  • Insufficient housing quality, affordability, and accessibility
  • Lack of necessary goods and services (e.g., broadband access, healthcare, food deserts)
  • Limited local employment opportunities
  • Limited local organizational and institutional support or capacity

Furthermore, as communities confront these challenges, they share similar community building strategies and social action that center:

  • Passionate neighbors seeking change
  • Developing critical consciousness
  • Education for political action
  • Equity-oriented, peaceful change
  • Cultural and environmental assets unique to the people and place
  • Collective care and mutual aid

Call for Proposals

The CDS Program Committee is now accepting proposals to present at the 2023 Conference. The Call will close January 9, but reviews will begin mid-December. The earlier you apply, the earlier you will be notified whether your proposal was accepted. Review the tracks and proposal types below, and begin a proposal today!

Community developers from all walks of life grapple with local challenges and leverage local opportunities in myriad ways. We seek proposals that address these strategies through our conference tracks:

  • Local Government and Tribal Action
  • Housing for All
  • Health equity
  • Youth Development
  • Food Security and Sovereignty
  • Economic Gardening, Social Enterprise, and Solidarity Economies
  • Social/Racial, Economic, and Environmental Justice Action
  • Climate Change Responses
  • Critical Histories of Community Development

The purpose of coming together in conference is to learn from and with one another, exploring what works in various contexts and examining the potential usefulness in different contexts. Toward this end, the Community Development Society welcomes presentations from activists, practitioners, and scholars alike in familiar academic formats, as well as creative dialogues and experiential workshops. Proposal types are listed below. Templates are provided for your convenience. Simply click on the type of proposal you are submitting, and the word document template will automatically download.

What to Expect

Look forward to our much-loved CDS conference activities:

  • Pre-conference workshops
  • Mobile workshops
  • Receptions
  • Awards Banquet

Conference center hotel details:

University Place Hotel & Conference Center

310 SW Lincoln Street
Portland, OR 97201

Our guest room block rates (Saturday, July 15 through Thursday, July 20, 2023) will be set at $115 per night for either a single King bed room -or- a (2) two double bed room. Hotel guests are provided full service breakfast in the onsite restaurant. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property.

Thanks to our 2023 Co-hosts & Sponsors

Portland State University

College of Urban and Public Affairs

At the College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA), we create informed citizens who go on to create a better world. Each of our programs encourages students to raise their voices, call out injustice, and work toward making the world a better place.

We are located in a city that likes to tackle problems head-on and share what we find with the rest of the world. Portland routinely has visitors from all over the world who want to learn from our creative solutions to complex problems. Our city encourages innovative policy reform, people-focused planning, and civic-mindedness, and CUPA has played an active role in the city’s evolution.

CUPA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in Criminology & Criminal Justice, Economics, International & Global Studies, Political Science, Public Administration, and Urban Studies & Planning.

Oregon State University

Extension and Engagement

Extension and engagement are core to Oregon State University’s mission. Through our core units and strategic initiatives, our Division is helping create real solutions and positive impact across Oregon and beyond.

  • We engage communities in learning, identifying local needs and opportunities and problem solving.
  • We believe in co-creation of innovation, knowledge, and expertise.
  • We help connect OSU’s educational programs and resources to all people—wherever and whenever they wish to learn.

This collaborative work serves to improve the health and well-being of Oregonians and communities, encourage economic development and industry innovation, co-create and share the science and knowledge of Oregon State University and deliver access to education for learner success across the lifespan.

Donate to CDS