Top down and bottom up development.

Flash cards on the definitions and advantages and disadvantages of top down and bottom up development.

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Bottom up.

Projects that inculde these aspects:

  • Decision making lies with the local community.
  • Small scale and apprioprate to local needs.
  • Culturally acceptable. 
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Bottom up advantages.


  • Meets the needs of the local people.
  • Helps solve the problems of the local community.
  • Local people have a say in what happens.
  • Improves quality of life.
  • Cheap.
  • Quick.
  • More sustainable.
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Bottom up disadvantages.


  • Only benefits the locals not the country as a whole.
  • Only small scale.
  • Can only help to a certain point.
  • Dependent on NGOs.
  • Creates honey potting (people move to the area.)
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Top down.

Top down projects include:

  • Decision making from the government or large multilateral organisations.
  • Local community have little say.
  • Large scale projects.
  • Expensive projects.
  • Using western technology.
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Top down advantages.


  • Large scale = large benefits.
  • Provides jobs (construction and maintainance.)
  • Attracts people to the area.
  • Helps the whole country.
  • Infrastructure projects.
  • Trade links and international relations improve.
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Top down disadvantages.


  • Waste of money and resources.
  • Expensive.
  • Have to pay back loans from other countries. (Loan dependency.)
  • Locals have no say.
  • Can reduce quality of life in the surrounding area in certain cases.
  • May not help everyone.
  • Takes a long time to complete.
  • Increases pollution.
  • Can destroy culture of an area.
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