The four essential elements of an Asset-Based Community Development process

Cormac Russell, our good friend who has been journeying alongside us in our quest to unearth the gifts, skills and talents of our community, has recently co-written this comprehensive paper outlining the four essential elements of an Asset-Based Community Development process, and most crucially what makes it distinctive. It has been written through many years of action, reflection, sharing, learning, journeying, story-telling, and listening. Below is a short introduction to the paper, and a link to download the document. We hope whilst reading you are as inspired, re-assured, cheered-on, challenged, and encouraged as we are by Cormac & John.

The Four Essential Elements of an Asset-Based Community Development Process. What is Distinctive about an ABCD Process?

By John McKnight & Cormac Russell, September 2018.
Asset-Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University

The primary goal of an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) process is to enhance collective citizen visioning and production through a process that combines four essential elements:

1. Resources
2. Methods
3. Functions
4. Evaluation

This paper discusses each of these elements in detail in an effort to answer the following question:

“what is distinctive about an Asset-Based Community Development process?”

The diagram below illustrates the relationship between the four essential elements of an asset-based community development process, which is neither hierarchical or sequential. In other words, the elements exist in relation to each other simultaneously and dynamically, so you can start with any one or a combination of the four elements, as long as ultimately you engage with all four. Hence it is only when all four elements are a feature of your community building effort, that it can be said to be an Asset-based Community Development process.


To have a read of the full paper click the link below:


Thank you John & Cormac.

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