What Is Development?

Development is a process that creates growth and brings in progress and positive change. It also helps to make people happy and satisfied. This means that development can lead to a better quality of life and improve people’s aspirations. It can be achieved through many different things including economic growth, social progress and addressing basic needs.

One of the key aspects of development is that it is complex and influenced by both biology and environment. This is reflected in the fact that there are several different meta-theories of development, including interactionist and contextualist models. These are based on the assumption that development is always shaped by social contexts, rather than being predetermined by biological or environmental factors alone.

Some development theories, like Piaget’s, assume that everyone passes through the same stages of cognitive development in the same order. However, this view has been criticized for overemphasizing the role of physical maturation and underestimating the importance of culture and experience in development.

Other development theories, like those of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, take a more human rights approach to development by emphasising the capacity of individuals to reach their full potential. This approach is reflected in the Human Development Index, developed by UNDP.

Development is an interdisciplinary field and draws on the research methods and knowledge bases of many different academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology, history, geography and anthropology. It is particularly relevant to issues of global sustainability, focusing on the ways in which governments and organizations work to reduce their impact on the environment.