When people use the word development, they often think of it as a means to bring economic growth and progress. However, development also entails social and environmental improvement. The United Nations defines sustainable development as the fulfillment of human beings’ multidimensional well-being. In the context of developing countries, this entails the elimination of poverty and the creation of a clean environment.
When talking about economic development, people usually refer to GDP or gross domestic product per capita as the primary indicator. Other indicators of economic development are the percentage of a country’s population with access to education, health care and free basic food. Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen describes development as a process of empowering individuals by allowing them to achieve their potential.
Many different types of development work together to create a developed nation. These include architects, city planners, engineers, surveyors, inspectors, contractors, lawyers and leasing agents. The developers themselves may be one person or an entire team.
There are many different theories about development, including the mechanistic meta-theory, which views humans as being made up of parts that can be studied independently from each other. This view assumes that humans do not change in the same way as machines, but rather they stay a certain way (for example, they cannot become something new like an SUV or a car).
Most researchers today prefer interactionist meta-theories such as contextualist and life-span perspectives. These theorists believe that development is influenced by multiple factors, and some of these are biological while others are environmental. Lastly, the cultural context in which development takes place is an important factor that should be taken into consideration.