Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is a community led approach originally developed John McKnight and John Kretzmann, that is built on four foundational elements (Kretzmann, 2010; Kretzmann & McKnight, 1993; Mathie & Cunningham, 2003):

  1. It focuses on community assets and strengths rather than problems and needs (strength based rather than deficit approach): Many traditional approaches to working in communities begin with a needs analysis or needs mapping, which focuses on problems in the community, and can lead to communities being labelled as deficient and disfunctional. This identity is often aborbed by people who live there and can result in a perpetual cycle of disconnection and problems.  The more disfunctional a community is labelled, the more funds are invested and controlled by external agencies. Focusing on the strengths and assets of a community createsstart with what makes a community strong, and recognise that everyone has skills, interests, and experience that can contribute.  
  2. It identifies and mobilises individual and community assets, skills and passions:  There are at least six broad types of assets which can be mapped and mobilised in communities, including: 1. ​The skills and abilities of individuals within the community, particularly people who are passionate about the community and are good at making connections; 2. Voluntary community organisations and networks and what they offer (or could offer) to the community. 3. Institutions (e.g. non-government organisations, not for profits, government agencies, businesses) that are already connected to the community (particularly small, local institutions); 4. The physical environment (both natural and built) 5. The local economy in a broad way that includes the informal economy (e.g., people swapping goods and services, voluntary work) as well as the traditional economy (e.g. production, consumption). 6. The stories, culture and heritage of the community.
  3. ​It is community driven – ‘building communities from the inside out’ (Kretzmann & McKnight, 1993): More and more, asset-based community development is being termed asset based community-driven or community-led development to emphasise the leadership role of community rather than external agencies. 
  4. It is relationship driven: The relationships and social networks that exist within communities are assets in their own right, but in addition to this, building relationships between ‘assets’ within the community is an important part of ABCD and asset mapping (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). Mathie and Cunningham (2002) suggest that ‘ABCD is a practical application of the concept of social capital’ (p. 9) because of the emphasis it places on informal networks and by drawing on their power to mobilise other community assets. Through building relationships, communities are able to gain access to resources, networks and energy that might otherwise remain hidden.

ABCD draws on a range of approaches and principles including:

  • Appreciative inquiry ;which identifies and analyses the community's past successes; strengthening confidence in capacity and inspiring action.
  • The recognition of social capital and its importance as an asset; focussing on the power of associations and informal linkages within the community.
  • Participatory approaches to development; based on principles of empowerment and ownership of the development process.
  • Community economic development models that prioritise collaborative efforts for economic development using the local resource base.
  • Efforts to strengthen civil society; engaging people as citizens (rather than clients) in development and making local governance more effective and responsive.

​Asset-based community-driven development challenges how professionals (including community development practitioners) see their role in working with communities, and requires listening deeply to communities. 

Additional information can be found:

The Asset Based Community Development Institute (McKnight and Kretzman)

Sustaining Community (Australian blog linked to University of Newcastle; Graham Stuart)

Nurture Development (Partner of the ABCD Institute, based in Europe/UK)

Additional Australian resources:

ABCD Asia Pacific Network

Jeder Institute (A collective founded by Dee Brooks)

Bank of IDEAS (Peter Kenyon and associates)

Volunteers standing in a circle looking down into the camera.
Would you like funding to support your National Volunteer Week event? The inaugural National Volunteer Week Small Grants Initiative provides an opportunity for Queensland volunteer-involving organisations to participate in National Volunteer Week 2019 (20-26 May). The initiative is managed by...
decorative
What will it take to create communities where everyone contributes, matters and belongs? This is the question being asked of participants from the community at the Changing Lives, Changing Communities event in Gladstone on 2-3 May. QCOSS has been holding regional events across the state, focussing...
decorative
Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government continues to deliver on its Queensland Financial Inclusion Plan, supporting vulnerable Queenslanders experiencing financial stress and hardship. Minister for Communities Coralee O’Rourke released the latest Financial Inclusion Plan...
decorative
Queensland Government media release The Palaszczuk Government is delivering on its commitment to Queensland’s Neighbourhood Centres through continued investment in these important pieces of local infrastructure. Minister for Communities Coralee O’Rourke today told the Queensland Parliament in...
decorative
Queensland Government media release The first sod has been turned for the $3.6 million Yarrabilba Family, Children and Community Hub, creating 12 jobs during construction. Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the State Government had fully...
decorative
Neighbour Day is celebrated on 25 March 2018 with the aim of fostering strong personal connections that last the whole year round. The aim of Neighbour Day is to build better relationships with the people who live around us, especially the elderly and vulnerable. Neighbours are important because...
decorative
Every year people and communities across Australia are impacted by emergencies and natural disasters. The Gender and Disaster POD (Women’s Health In the North, Women’s Health Goulburn North East, and Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative), the Victorian Council of Social Services and...
If you or someone you know need a meal this Christmas here are some places providing meals around Brisbane over the Chrismas period. End of season feast, gift and hamper, Jeays St Community Centre, 12 Jeays St, Bowen Hills, 20 December 12:00pm End of year free community lunch (tel 07 3358 5600),...
decorative
Supply Nation will be delivering a free briefing session on 22 November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre to help organisations find out how to meet their Queensland Indigenous Procurement Policy target. Taking place after the briefing, the Brisbane Indigenous Trade Fair will...
decorative
Below are some considerations for disaster planning for services providing accommodation to clients e.g. placement services and diversionary services These are only suggested considerations and do not replace any advice received from relevant authorities. Make sure all staff are aware of the agency...

Pages

The Queensland Government funds more than 100 neighbourhood and community centres which provide friendly, localised access to child, family and community services. There are centres in rural, remote and urban communities throughout Queensland. You can access a list of funded centres here . There...
Are you looking for support in Queensland, or trying to find a service that meets your needs? Now you can search oneplace , the service directory hosted by the Queensland Family and Child Commission. oneplace is an easily accessible directory of community services to help Queensland families to get...
Volunteering Services Australia (VSA) is a national network of community development services, that aim to assist the hundreds of not-for-profit and charitable organisations with the recruitment and management of volunteers. It is a member-based organisation committed to community engagement and...
The Financial Counsellors' Association of Queensland is the peak professional body representing the membership of 74 Financial Counsellors throughout inner city, suburban and regional Queensland. The FCAQ is also a not for profit organisation whose members provide a fee and accessible financial...
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIFW) published Australia's Welfare in October 2017. The report provides an authoritative overview of the wellbeing of Australians, examining a wide range of relevant topics. Read the report here.
Legal Aid have a series of captioned recordings about Legal Aid Queensland services on their YouTube channel . Videos for community, health and education workers can be found here and include their published community legal education webinars. Upcoming webinars can be found on the Information for...
The Queensland Disaster Management website and the Get Ready website have a range of information and useful resources that can assist you to plan and prepare for an emergency. As part of your preparedness and planning for weather events, access regular weather forecast updates from the Bureau of...
The Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that matter blends a suite of powerful conversational processes to invite people to step in and take charge of the challenges facing them. There are a range of resources on the website, which is all open source. You can also find resources collated...
Effective Engagement: building relationships with community and other stakeholders Book One: an introduction to engagement Book Two: the engagement planning workbook Book Three: the engagement toolkit
The Asset Based Community Development Institute has a detailed website with a range of free resources and publication related to practice.
The Community Toolbox is a free, online resource for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change. It offers thousands of pages of tips and tools for taking action in communities. There are tools to learn about community assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation,...
The Legal Health Check is a collaboration between the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House (QPILCH) and the National Association of Community Legal Centres Inc. The Legal Health Check provides a number of resources and tools to help organisations identify their clients' legal needs and...
This handbook was produced in 2010 by the Queensland Alliance, the peak body for mental health in Queensland. It is a practical approach to helping Sector Development Workers improve their skills and understanding. It provides guidelines on establishing an ethical framework for practice and the...
The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) has produced the Planned Support Guide: an approach to case management for people working in a wide range of community services. If you are a front line worker, supervisor or manager this guide is for you. The guide assists in the development of a...
decorative
Author: 
Simone Hockins, Queensland Council of Social Service

Last year Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) and Queensland Families and Communities Association (QFCA) consulted with neighbourhood and community centres across Queensland.

The report, which was the largest community consultation of its kind in Queensland, found three key...

Author: 
Queensland Council of Social Service

The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) recently released a new report revealing the interrelated nature of poverty and disadvantage, highlighting key areas in Queensland which need to be addressed with better targeted programs, policies and investment.

...

Deception Bay Community Youth Programs
Author: 
Brooke Reynolds, DBCYP

Deception Bay Community Youth Programs (DBCYP) is a community organisation that provides whole of life support for young people in Deception Bay. 

DBCYP have developed the iCreate program as a means to effectively engage young people...

A screenshot of the Care Opinion website
Author: 
Michael Greco, Care Opinion Australia

Care Opinion is an independent, not-for-profit new web site which enables people to post their experiences of local social care services online, and in public (eg aged care, youth and disability care). ...

Nandjimadji art group
Author: 
Shelley Dunlop, QCOSS

You can now access a series of resources that showcase best practice HACC Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service delivery models. 

The three booklets tell the stories of innovative and positive service delivery practices that meet the cultural needs of their...

Child protection screenshot
Author: 
Shelley Dunlop, QCOSS

Do you understand the details of the Supporting Families Changing Futures reforms and the new community-based child protection intake services?

StudioQ is now hosting a...

Peter Kenyon
Author: 
Shelley Dunlop, QCOSS

Last week on 17 October 2014 the QCOSS State Conference - Building strength was held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane.

The program aimed to build on the strengths already existing within Queensland’s strong and resilient community service sector, as well...

The Queensland Plan logo
Author: 
Tiffany Tento, Queensland Council of Social Service

The Queensland Government’s ambitious and visionary Queensland Plan has set out a positive framework for the next 30 years, but its success will depend on whether it can inspire real action.

The Queensland Plan is not...

Report
Author: 
Anne Curson, Queensland Council of Social Service

This month QCOSS releases the Rethinking Resources: Case Studies of Financial Resilience from Community Services report, in which community organisations from Queensland share how...

See videos from StudioQ related to this topic

Share or Print