The last decade has seen many changes in the way poor people have been brought into the development process. In particular, there has been an increased emphasis on people’s livelihoods and how to improve their capacity to deal with the stress of everyday life and long-term change without becoming increasingly impoverished. To this end, sustainable liveli- hood approaches have become enormously influential in mainstream development thinking: initially becoming popular in Africa and Asia, but increasingly applied to European contexts. Indeed, in the last five years a range of sustainable livelihoods interventions have been designed and implemented across the globe. It is, therefore, an opportune moment to take stock and question the impact these approaches have had on policy and planning processes that affect people and communities. Here we focus on one particular aspect – the relationship between community development and sustainable livelihood approaches. We do so because we believe that an approach that seeks to put people at the centre of the development process and aims to make a substantive difference to community life warrants atten- tion in CDJ. So much so that this Special Issue is devoted to a consideration of the connections between community development and sustainable liveli- hoods approaches – in terms of the differences, commonalities and ways the approaches may or may not complement one another.