Community Development

Community Development

The Extension Institute of Community Development helps communities realize their potential through strategy and economic development. We work with communities to build the vitality that grows their population. By coaching people and groups to effectively interact with their local governments, educating on broadband and e-commerce opportunities, and providing the foundation to grow community and regional food systems, the Communities Institute plants and cultivates the seeds for thriving municipalities.

Leadership Wisconsin

Leadership Wisconsin

Granting access to facilities and technical assistance for aspiring food processors and other food & farm entrepreneurs


Downtown Market Analysis

Downtown Market Analysis

Providing a one-stop resource for community business development focused primarily on small city downtowns


Center for Community & Economic Development

Center for Community & Economic Development

Providing applied research, educational programs, and assistance to individuals, local governments, and community organizations


Creating Resilient and Vibrant Downtowns

Creating Resilient and Vibrant Downtowns

Bringing together educational programs and resources offered by University Extension programs nationwide



View all community development sites



Did You Know

Many people already know of our popular programs, but did you know that we also:


Upcoming Events

Community Development Publications


No-Box Thinking: navigating Change Resistance in Small Town America

The Learning Store produces and distributes educational materials based on university research, extending knowledge to the statewide community.


Featured Publication

No-Box Thinking offers a framework for understanding the automatic and powerful resistance to change those engaged in community development often face. This book details how to convert the powerful sources of community change resistance—identity, emotion, and social connections—into powerful forces for transformational change (105 pages; 2018).

View Related Topics on the Learning Store




Connect with Your CountyFind Your Local Office

Cooperative Extension experts live and work in the communities they serve. Our team offers insight and solutions based on a deep understanding of local needs and priorities.

Find your local office



A Part of the Youth, Family & Community Development Program Area


Cooperative Extension’s research and outreach improves the lives of Wisconsinites through action, education and community partnerships. We set rural and urban communities up to thrive by supporting their economic development and organizational and leadership development. We show individuals how to build financial capability and encourage them toward the most nourishing health habits.


Learn More






Will Andresen