Asset Based Community Development cont
Strengthening and improving communities using existing assets, such as skills, knowledge, capacity, resources, experience, or enthusiasm
Asset based community development identifies assets of the individual and of the community
There are broadly six types of assets in communities which are often overlooked when the focus is purely on what is missing in the community.
- The skills and abilities of individuals within the community and people who are passionate about the community and who are good at making connections.
- Voluntary community organisations and networks.
- Existing connections with the community with institutions, e.g., statutory bodies and government agencies, businesses, and social enterprises.
- The physical environment both natural and built.
- The local economy, which includes the informal economy e.g., people swapping goods and services, voluntary work, as well as the traditional economy.
- The stories, culture, and heritage of the community
It is important to remember that when identifying these assets that we are not creating a directory. What is being recorded are the strengths, resources, and the relationships that exist in the community. The best way to portray these relationships is through graph data structure.
Asset based community development is driven by the community and their agenda, and not by the agenda of external agencies. Because asset based community development is community driven, the priorities and needs of the community are addressed in an ongoing manner. Whilst professionals can play a particularly important role, their focus should be on assisting the community to drive their own development. External professionals can never know local assets as well as people from the community and so asset based community development allows community members to become the drivers of change.
Asset based community development is also relationship driven. The relationships and social networks that exist within communities are assets in their own right. Building relationships between assets in the community is an important tenet of asset based community development and it is a practical application of the concept of social capital. This is because of the emphasis it places on informal networks and by drawing on their power to mobilise other community assets to gain access to resources, networks, and energy that might otherwise remain inaccessible.