Getting down to ground level: a community perspective on social development

In 1994, the UN Volunteers programme (UNV) and UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) collaborated on a research project, Volunteer Contributions to Social Integration at the Grassroots: the Urban or `Pavement Dimension'. The author describes how the researchers hope to contribute to understanding of how global forces erode community structures, including the way governments increasingly privatise public services, and highlights the challenges and potential rewards for communities which voluntarily pull together to change their circumstances.