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What is Community Development?

“Community Development is "a process designed to create conditions of economic and social progress for the whole community with its active participation and fullest possible reliance upon the community’s initiative.” (United Nations, 1948). It arose as a response to social changes due to rapid technological change, economic dislocations, disruption in traditional family and community structures. It is also concerned with the negativeimpacts of ever-increasing government and commercial services on personal, family and community life, 

What is Asset-Based Community Development?

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is a framework for community building developed by John McKnight and John Kretzmann based on their studies of successful community building initiatives in hundreds of neighbourhoods. This framework is explained in Building Communities From the Inside Out – A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets, first published in 1993 as a practical guide to ABCD.

ABCD seeks to uncover, highlight and utilize the strengths, capacities and resources within communities, as opposed to the more traditional needs-based approach. ABCD is more likely to empower the community and mobilize citizens to create positive and meaningful change. Focusing on needs and deficits tends to lead toward bringing in external resourcse and services, in fragmented efforts to "fix" the problem. ABCD builds on the positive aspects of the community, fosters a sense of community pride and develops community leadership.

Read Grame Stuart's Story of Two Communities

5 Steps in ABCDABCD is similar to the "strengths-based approach" used by many human service providers.

Some Useful Resources on ABCD