Felt needs and anticipatory needs: reformulation of a basic community development principle.
"Felt needs" is a basic concept in community development. Felt needs are changes deemed necessary by people to correct the deficiencies they perceive in their community. The use of felt needs in community development practice involves the process of identifying needs, ranking their importance, and building programs based on the ranking. A frequent application of the concept is the methodology of needs assessment as a technique to gather data used for program definition and design. This paper explains why the concept of felt needs is inadequate for contemporary community development practice and why the needs assessment methodology is not an appropriate basis for program design. Felt needs are products of a past-to-present orientation. Continuing to function on the basis of felt needs will contribute to community development becoming increasingly irrelevant and incapable of addressing today's major social and economic issues. Felt needs should be replaced by the concept "anticipatory needs," which identifies what needs to be done in order to move toward a specified future. Anticipatory needs are products of a present-to-future orientation. The distinction is critical to the practitioner because felt needs and anticipatory needs are very, different "needs" and, therefore, lead to different programming activities and patterns of relationships with community groups.Show more [+] Less [-]