2023 CDS Conference

July 16 - 19 in Portland, Oregon

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

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!

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

Community developers from all walks of life grapple with these local challenges and leverage local opportunities in myriad ways. Concurrent sessions will include academic paper presentations, program and project presentations, storytelling circles, and roundtables from activists, practitioners, and scholars. 

What to Expect

Look forward to our much-loved CDS conference activities:

  • Pre-conference workshops
  • Mobile workshops
  • Receptions
  • Awards Banquet
  • Annual Meeting of the Members

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

If you are interested in becoming a 2023 Conference Sponsor, there is information and a form below!

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.

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.

OMSI is more than a museum.

We create learning experiences these walls can’t contain — bringing science to as many people as possible, no matter who or where they are. OMSI believes our collective potential can be unlocked when curiosity, learning, and community unite. Our differences are what make us amazing, and we celebrate those who dare to question: the explorers, the tinkerers, the storytellers, and the troublemakers. Welcome to OMSI.

OMSI’s mission is to inspire curiosity through engaging science learning experiences, foster experimentation and the exchange of ideas, and stimulate informed action. Our vision is to collaborate with partners to ignite an education transformation at the intersection of science, technology, and design. We will weave a thriving innovation district into the fabric of Portland that spreads opportunities across the Northwest.

Utah State University

At the Western Rural Development Center, we link the science-based research and educational outreach capacity of the region’s public universities with communities, local decision-makers, entrepreneurs, families, farmers and ranchers to help address a wide range of development issues.

We bring together the most innovative minds — from inside and outside universities — to address cutting-edge issues without regard to state boundaries. We respond to emerging issues, generate credible science-based information to clarify these issues, and create public-private partnerships to address them.

It is our goal to build regional capacity to help rural communities prosper, thrive economically, and become self-sustaining.

The Purdue Center for Regional Development’s vision is to be a leader in innovative and adaptive partnerships empowering regions to find solutions for equitable, sustainable, and resilient development. The Center collaborates with people to listen, identify, and enhance assets unique to their story resulting in prosperity and quality of life.

NeighborWorks America creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities.

Become a Sponsor

The 2023 CDS Annual Conference provides an exciting opportunity to present, discuss, and learn more about the challenges and opportunities we encounter as community development scholars, activists, and practitioners. To host an exciting conference while keeping registration costs low for students, AmeriCorps/VISTA volunteers, and folks from grassroots organizations, we invite you to serve as a conference Sponsor. Sponsorship funds help defray the costs associated with keynote speakers and receptions, which include the Welcome Reception, the CDS Awards Banquet, and a Community Reception event at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

We are offering four sponsorship levels, each with benefits to your organization. 










$5,000 +

Listed in the Conference Program





Logo on the Conference Program and Webpage





Recognition during the Welcome Reception





Sponsor-supplied materials included in the Conference Participant Packet




Complimentary Conference Registration

Yes – 1

Yes – 2

Yes – 3

Complimentary Exhibit Space



A brief presentation about your organization (during the Awards Banquet or Community Reception, as appropriate)




If you have any questions or need additional information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Margaret Stout, Vice Chair of Programs, programs@CDSociety.org. Download a PDF version of this information here.

Sponsorship Form

Donate to CDS