An example of asset-based community development

Asset-based community-driven development (ABCD) is built on four foundations (Kretzmann, 2010; Kretzmann & McKnight, 1993; Mathie & Cunningham, 2003):

  1. It focuses on community assets and strengths rather than problems and needs
  2. It identifies and mobilises individual and community assets, skills and passions
  3. It is community driven – ‘building communities from the inside out’
  4. It is relationship driven.

As can be seen, ABCD is much more than creating an asset map. In my teaching and work, I am moving away from asset mapping to other ways of identifying and mobilising community strengths and assets.

The above video, featuring Wendy McCaig, is a great example of putting the foundations into practice without relying on an asset map.

Some of the things that stood out for me include:

  1. The initial discussions were with community members, not service providers
  2. Strengths and assets were identified through conversations and relationships (not formal asset mapping)
  3. There was an emphasis on what people were passionate about
  4. The way in which relationships developed.

It’s also worth looking at the other short videos from Wendy and her other posts about asset-based community development.

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. 10 things I’ve learnt about strengths-based community engagement
  2. What is asset-based community-driven development (ABCD)?
  3. Seven principles for a strengths-based approach to working with groups
  4. A reading list on ABCD (over 100 resources)
  5. A story of two communities
  6. Strengths-based measurement

If you find any problems with the blog, (e.g., broken links or typos) I’d love to hear about them. You can either add a comment below or contact me via the Contact page.


Kretzmann, J. P. (2010). Asset-based strategies for building resilient communities. In J. W. Reich, A. Zautra, & J. S. Hall (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience. New York: Guilford Press.

Kretzmann, J. P., & McKnight, J. L. (1993). Building communities from the inside out: A path toward finding and mobilizing a community’s assets. Evanston, Ill.: Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research, Northwestern University. Available from

Mathie, A., & Cunningham, G. (2003). From clients to citizens: Asset-based community development as a strategy for community-driven development. Development in Practice, 13(5), 474-486.

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
This entry was posted in Strengths-based approaches & ABCD, Working with communities and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to An example of asset-based community development

  1. Shirley says:

    Wendy, I think you work is awesome. I have recently returned to the Sam all town I grew up in. It pains me to see the place where t few up happy and carefree is now a said place where alcohol and drugs are destroying families and incarcerating young men and women. I want to do something


  2. Hi Graeme, I like you am moving away from asset mapping, I like following the energy in this work, and I find someone always knows someone who knows someone who would be great at a thing, or is great at a thing, I’m not sure you can map that kind of stuff. And why would you, so long as you have the relationships and connections, this ‘living ‘ map is always available in this work

    Liked by 2 people

I'd love to hear what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.