Community Development in the United States has emerged as a complex field within a diverse range of public, economic, and philanthropic demands. The following research discusses the historical trajectory of American Community Development as a means to positioning its contemporary discourse. Approaches and strategies from within the American context will be examined in relation to the practiced methodologies as well as a means towards outlining the agency of its participants. Similar to the German context the strategic approaches target to increase both physical and immaterial wealth as well as democratic progress and self-guidance. The practical application, however, emphasizes highly economic methods that have created an increased state of professionalization. These developments however, have the tendency to limit processes of public participation. Ultimately, the theoretical foundations of this discourse and its practical applications have increasingly become polarized through a shift between the social impetus and financial realities of their programs.