Community development is both a process - developing and enhancing the ability to act collectively - and an outcome - a decision to take collective action and the results that action generates. Effective community development occurs when community members work together with organizations and governments to solve problems and realize new opportunities. Community development is an essential ingredient in effective community change efforts: helping to prioritize and align strategies to the community's context, as well as, revealing, and mobilizing, untapped community resources.
Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is a proven strengths-based approach to sustainable community development. Developed by John McKnight, and now championed by a global network of practitioners, ABCD intentionally emphasizes gifts, skills, talents and resources rather than needs and deficits and consists of:
Mapping the capacities and assets of individuals, citizens’ associations and local institutions.
Building relationships among local assets for mutually beneficial problem-solving.
Mobilizing the community’s assets for economic development and information sharing.
Convening a broadly representative group to build a community vision and plan.
Leveraging activities, investments and resources outside the community to support asset-based, locally-defined development.
ABCD identifies and links individual and organizational assets that support the community's priorities and its long-term visions. This approach reinforces shared ownership of - and commitment to - the community's future; and, nurtures the resilience and capacity of residents and the community overall. Ultimately, the outcomes of ABCD include a strengthened social infrastructure within neighbourhoods and communities and an enhanced sense of belonging and connection between neighbours and citizens.
In this well written and thought provoking publication, John McKnight examines the analogy of the "three-legged stool" to describe how business, government and civil society each play a role in upholding democratic processes.
Through this report, you will come to understand not only the power of community building but also the way that community building relates to the reasons why many of us were drawn to the profession of local government management in the first place.
This insightful article discusses the patterns and dynamics at work in our communities around building strong social infrastructure. He explores the patterns of our relationships with each other as individuals and groups that give rise to our physical infrastructure.
Asset Mapping is an important activity in asset-based community development which emphasizes identifying community strengths rather than needs. A Capacity Inventory tool is one of the primary ways that communities can begin to identify and map their strengths and assets. Here are four useful resources that: provide an overview of ABCD, an introduction to asset mapping; a sample capacity inventory; and, a how-to for using the capacity inventory.
This resourceful guide walks you through how to identify and celebrate community culture, the possibilities and power of individual and collective gifts, the power of associations, the vital role of connectors, and identifies key questions for community builders.
In this podcast, two compelling thinkers – John McKnight and Peter Block – share some of their ideas for awakening the power of neighbourhoods and families, and illustrate the value of an abundant community.
This paper is a rich resource for undertaking place-based work at the neighbourhood level developed by Community Development Halton. It includes promising practices, a literature review and a proposed approach for this work for undertaking this work.