ABCD 101 by John McKnight


John McKnight - Part Two John McKnight - Part Three

John McKnight - Part Four

What builds thriving communities? In ABCD 101 John McKnight of the Asset Building Community Development Institute reviews the five basic building blocks of asset-based community development.

Rather than using a problem-based needs-assessment starting point, leading to an outside intervention model, ABCD identifies an asset-based starting point to identify what positive grassroots initiatives are already operational, from which community growth can develop.  Starting by identifying successful neighbourhood initiatives, where the residents were the principal producers of the outcome, ABCD asks the question, “What did the people use in the neighbourhood when they made things better?”

The 5 key asset building blocks are:

  1. The gifts, skills and capacities of the local residents.
  2. Small face-to-face groups of citizens (i.e. individuals who are producers rather than consumers) who come together to do things and who are not paid for their work.  These are identified as “associations” and are the producers of a future for a community.  They have a non-hierarchical, relational structure.
  3. Groups of people bound to the neighbourhood who are paid for their work.  These include three groups: a) for-profit groups (businesses); not-for-profit groups (e.g. agencies, registered charities); and government groups (e.g. schools, libraries, community centres, etc.). These are identified as “institutions”.  They have a hierarchical structure and are created to last through time; they have continuity as their key and are designed not to be dependent on individual employees.
  4. The land on which the neighbourhood is situated. This includes land improvements, buildings and underground assets.
  5. The process of exchange between people. This includes sharing, trading, giving, buying and selling.

Asset #1 was found to be present in all the stories used as a basis for study. The other asset building blocks appear in different permutations, but form continuity within the community development process.

John McKnight develops the concepts using clear and accessible graphic symbols and a straightforward delivery style that makes this video group accessible to a diverse audience.

Original source: ABCD 101