Friday, October 14, 2011

Final Post - Asset Based Community Development

Illustrate your understanding of Asset Based Community Development by describing how you could see it applied to a particular problem in a particular city.


  1. Assets Based Community Development (ABCD) allows communities to drive development processes themselves by identifying and mobilising existing assets. In particular ABCD draws attention to social assets such as the gifts and talents of individuals and the social relationships that fuel local associations and informal networks.

    A particular problem this initiative could be applied to is lower income neighbourhoods which rely heavily on government hand outs. For example those in New York. Asset based approach can be mobilised in these communities to break the cycle of poverty and health issues by initiating community involvement in the development of policies and facilitating activities which are based on the capacities, skills and assets of these communities. This has to involve all assets of a community including individuals, associations and institutions to be successful.

    Significant community development takes place only when local community people are committed to investing themselves and their resources to the effort. It has been found that outside resources will be much more effectively used if the local community itself is fully mobilised and invested.

    Charlotte Belsham 1195495 Cbel063

  2. Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is a way to utilise strengths in communities by using social assets. This means using the talents of individuals so that their talents, skills and assets. it is about community driven development whihc allows people to believe in their own capacities and inspires them to take action.

    This can be seen in the recent oil spill incident. Where the government is too busy with the Rugby World Cup and Christchurch that they have not been able to start the oil clean up fast enough. The community started cleaning up the beach themselves instead of waiting for the government to step in.

    ABCD is a strategy used mainly in urban neighbourhoods and rural communities. It helps to initiate community involvement and is a more sustainable method of community development as it is community led. People living within a community understands their wants and needs more than a council officer.

    this is mainly applied to American cities as many cities have "struggle[d] with massive economic shifts that have
    depleted the employment opportunities of many low-income neighborhoods, the asset-
    based approach provides an example of how to create sustainable neighborhoods across
    the country."

    This report shows how the ABCD approach was developed from the needs-based aproach and why is did not work.

    Tin Lo, 1066001


    the site from the previous comment

    Tin Lo, 1066001

  4. Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is the process that seeks to uncover and utilize the strengths within communities as a means for sustainable development.
    "The process of recognising these capacities begins with the construction of a new lens through which communities can begin to assemble their strengths into new combinations, new structures of opportunity, new sources of income and control, and new possibilities for production and new ways of including everyone in the community" (Support For communities to grow strong, 2010)
    One example of this is the creation of KaBOOM! in Washington D.C which is an organisation that empowers communities to build playgrounds to encourage children to grow up fitter and happier

    Student ID: 1229712

  5. Asset based community development is an application of bottom community oriented development that achieves sustainable development. An example of where this could (and is currently being utilised is in the community of Te Hana, Rodney). This community faced significant social deprivation, however through a process of local assessment identified significant local skills surrounding Maori culture and heritage leading to the current plan for a Maori culture and tourism centre. As a model for community development this can be applied to any area of significant social deprivation as the skills and expertise within this example are not unique to this location.

    Harry Halpin

  6. Asset based community development in my mind is similar to the concept of bottom up planning, with strong local knowledge and know how providing better outcomes. I would imagine that this kind of approach was fairly commonplace (without the fancy name) a few decades ago when community ties were stronger and people got together to achieve their goals. ABCD therefore ties in with the concept of social capital and the themes that this explores.

    To pinpoint an example, I think it is not necessary to look any further than the response to the Christchurch earthquake. In this instance we all witnessed the community banding together and utilising the skills that they possessed in order to help each other out and provide the support necessary.

    Sid Scull

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Asset based community development essentially uses local assets within a particular community as the primary building blocks for achieving sustainable development. It all has to do with what is available within the local community, for example skills or professions possessed by local residents or associations that may be of use for helping the community they live in. It creates an environment of empowerment and co-operation while encouraging community spirit in that, we as a community must look after and provide for each other.

    An example, could revolve around a impoverished area of the city that has a heavy gang influence which is negatively effecting the local youth. A situation where the community bands together to create programs and encourage youth to turn their backs on gang and criminal institutions would demonstrate an example of asset based community development. People can use their skills and life experiences to help the youth and attempt to point the community down the right path

    Benjamin Christian-Webb
    ID 1296747

  9. The appeal of Asset Based Community Development is that communities are able to support the development process themselves by being given the tools to identify existing assets that they may not have recognised that they had, and in turn creating a local economic opportunity. ABCD particularly draws attention to social assets which include the talent that individuals in the community have, and the social relationships that stimulate local associations and informal networks.

    Like my classmates, I believe that this approach works best when applied to a deprived or low income area. This was seen in the Te Hana community as they took their story and culture (asset) and turned it into a tourism venture to generate profit for their community. They have begun to turn their community around improve their quality of life immensely.

    Rachael Thomas

  10. Asset based community development looks to build on a community’s assets for future development rather than focusing on its needs. Through this approach a more positive community outlook which focuses less what is negative or missing is achieved.

    Tairua beach on the east coast of the Coromandel is often subject to destructive waves which have to potential to erode the buffer provided by the sand dune system. A response to this is planting vegetation on the dunes to increase stability. This has occurred in the past however Tairua beach would benefit from more planting.

    Given that this approach has been used previously by the community, assets including knowledge of the process and community support are already present. Further, such an approach would contribute to the sustainability of the area in terms of both community strength and environmental sustainability.

    Melissa Spearman
    1265035 - mspe052

  11. ABCD contributes to community capacity building and social inclusion by recognizing and assembling local strength into new combinations, new structures of opportunity, new sources of income and control and new possibilities for production and new ways of including everyone in the community. People are seen as designers or producers of their communities. This provides power and leadership and is considered assets of the community.
    One example I found where ABCD principles successfully applied is in Tianzifang, Shanghai. This old community located in the center of the city is transforming itself without having a typical gentrification process. They took the advantage of the historical character of their traditional housing built during French concession, attracted foreign and domestic artists as well as small businesses and they even jointly self-financed for the refurbishment and maintenance of public facilities. It has become functionally more mixed, socially inclusive and economically uplifting as this bottom-up initiative proceeds.
    Yuqing Zhou 1560341 (yzho146)

  12. Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) recognises community assets as being the primary foundations of sustainable development (Northwestern University, 2009). It builds on the skills of local residents, the power and influence of local organisations, and the functions of local institutions (Northwestern University, 2009).

    Thus ABCD can mobilise communities, and bring them together (Northwestern University, 2009). Communities can take a proactive, inclusionary approach to solving their problems, rather than just relying on the Government for support.

    This video provides a REALLY good explanation of ABCD:

    I could see the ABCD approach successfully solving problems in many situations. Recently, in the eastern Auckland suburb of Ellerslie, the community banded together and cleaned up the town centre. The Ellerslie town centre had been in a filthy state. By coming together and volunteering as a community, the people of Ellerslie successfully solved this problem. As a result, we now have a much cleaner town centre, which is far more enjoyable to be in.

    This website has photos of the Ellerslie Town Centre Clean-up:

    Reference: NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY 2009. Available: [Accessed 25/10/2011].

    Simon Christopher Mitchell (smit075) I.D: 1284770

  13. ABCD is about knowing and using the gifts and talents of people, organizations and communities, to build on their strengths for the benefit and development of the local community. It looks at the skills of the community from young people to elderly and even the disabled people, the dedication of different groups within the community such as churches, cultural groups and clubs, as well as looking at the institutional resources within the neighbourhood. Instead of looking at the 'bad' it looks at and focuses on the 'good' that are already present in each community. It is an approach that is seen as effective and empowering.
    One example where this is applied is in the advertising group in Chicago known as AArrow Advertising using the strategy called "sign spinning" giving life to dull advertisements on billboards that are expensive and easily ignored by passersby, also it created jobs for young people. Here's a video link to show what they do and how they do it: ,and the link to the AArrow Advertising:

    ABCD in my opinion, as in the example can be applied here in Auckland. It can give small businesses a boost in advertising and also involves youth, using their enthusiasm and skills while earning money and enjoying at the same time be it in the spin-dance style or through graffiti art.


  14. I agree with Sid in that ACBD encompasses a strong base in social capital and commuinity driven intiatives, that takes alot of the uptake in skill and knowledge from the locality in which development will be incurred. If i remember right from some Gunder classes policy cycles tend to bend and mould community driven developments into things that are locality driven at all. However disregarding political forces in local government etc, I would offer the recent Rena grounding as a case where ABCD is exemplified. In an ironic turn the Tauranga community one bustling with a large amount of ocean profeesionals such as sailors, fishermen, divers and ocean sportsmen, was impacted by the grounding of the Rena container ship and a potential marine disaester for the local environment. Knowing alot of people living in Tauranga(1 persons), I know they are passionate about their coast and ocean and have the skills to fix problems, this has been seen by the huge amount of volunteer support and cleanup help that the community has provided in volunteer and proffessional expertise.

    Lastly i would like to disagree with Sarah Akers because she consistantly has got better marks then me for four years...

    peace out, and thanks for all the fish.

    jjof001 4893213

  15. Without repeating the excellent description and explanation of ABCD as elucidated by my colleges, I would like to mention some of my thoughts instead. Personally, I believe that ABCD represents a genuine attempt to reconcile planning with grass-root ‘bottom-up’ approaches. However, one cannot help but be reminiscent of the advocacy planning ‘craze’ (for lack of a better phrase) sweeping our profession in the 70s. While cognisant that ABCD actively attempts to engage the community that is involved, in bridging the technical knowledge required to participate in the planning process, any planner must not impart their own vision onto the community.
    I have seen the example of Rena mentioned as ABCD. Personally, I see it more as ‘civic’ spirit and community action, rather than development of the community in any sort of planning sense. What remains to be seen is, can planning ‘issues’ which are often not as evident and directly obvious (some even being not perceptible, i.e. the issues of accommodating growth – as far as people are concerned there’s nothing wrong with their community at the moment – an excellent research paper by Jethro Joffe highlights the conflict within communities in preparing a district plan which prepares for higher density town centre in Orewa)ever galvanise a community enough?

  16. Asset based community development (ABCD) is about unleashing and utilising knowledge and skills, discovering potentials from within the community. There may be a number of development objectives for ABCD depending on the circumstances. As Harry mentioned, for a deprived community that scores lowly on the various socio-economic indicators it can mean achieving economic self-sufficiency. Whereas for a more affluent community it maybe something along the lines of unleashing the creative potential of its people to create an art/music scene etc.

    Overall it is about community empowerment to bring out the best out of the community and its people.

    I remember one of the development objectives of the Auckland Unleashed was to “unleash the entrepreneurial potential of Maori.” The wording of sounds like an ABCD objective being applied to a larger context, i.e. Auckland wide. However each community can adopt the objective within its own context i.e. “unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of Maori with the community.”

    Yiqiang Shao

  17. Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is a way to contribute the community capacity of utilizing the local strength by using the social assets. It allows people to believe in their own capacities and inspires them to take action during the community driven development process. All new combinations will be provided to assets of the local community, such as the new source of income, the now possibilities for production and opportunities of jobs. People will be liked as designers or producers to redesign and built their own communities.

    In the case of Tianzifang which is located in Shanghai, this is a successful example which by using the ABCD principles for design their local community. This local community took the benefit from the design of the foreign and domestic artists to redevelop and maintain the styling of traditional housing and the function of different land use by the historical characteristics. This old community transformed itself into a new sustainable developed community without having a typical government process. In this community, people are committed to investing themselves and their resources to the effort. This is much more effectively for the development of economic and social in the local community.

    Ye Kang

  18. What about turning a problem into an asset? A community in India has begun to use their excessive rubbish consumption as the beginning of an economic (and sustainable) recycling initiative.
    I recently watched a documentary on ‘slumming it’ by Kevin McCloud, about a Dharavi slum in India. Here the health and sanitary conditions are among the worst in the world, but Kevin noted something important about the way in which this community operated. Not only does this community have an employment rate of about 85% (where they all work locally), but it has a ‘recycling zone’ that perhaps even represents a model for a sustainable future worldwide. In Dharavi EVERYTHING is recycled, compar this to just 23% of plastic waste in the UK.
    Now I’m not implying that a system like this should be implemented into other communities in the West, because of the health implications and poor working conditions associated. But this represents a situation whereby a community (with the help a local organization) has provided employment for its people while providing for a sustainable future.
    When your biggest problem is population growth and rubbish consumption, how can communities (with the support of authorities) help create an asset?
    Documentary can be viewed from this link:

    Sophie Elwood