Development is a term often used to describe the economic progress of a country, as well as its social and environmental advancements. It is also often used to describe how a company or project grows and changes over time. For example, a development project could involve converting an existing block of land into 4 residential units or a company buying and building a new headquarters.
The field of development is very broad and incorporates many different theories, research methods and knowledge bases. For instance, those who endorse lifespan or ecological systems approaches believe that human development is always embedded in cultural and historical contexts and influenced by multiple factors. Some of these factors are biological, while others are societal or environmental.
Because of the multidisciplinary nature of development, it is not easy to define what exactly it means. However, a common-sense understanding of development is improvements in people’s quality of life over time. In addition, development has become a global concern with countries that are considered developed often taking steps to address some of the challenges faced by developing nations.
For development to be sustainable, it must consider the interests of people across generations and the environment. For example, sustainable development must be inclusive of women and minorities, while considering the effects of the natural environment on people. It must also ensure a balance between economic, social and environmental progress, as outlined by Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen. For these reasons, many organizations and actors participate in international development activities around the world, sometimes collaborating. The United States, for example, disperses billions of dollars in support of international development projects.