The most common approach to ‘helping’ communities (and individuals) has involved focusing on the community’s needs, deficiencies and problems. This approach leads to disempowerment of community members. The alternative path to community development (ABCD) focuses on a community’s assets, capacities and abilities. Historical evidence indicates that significant community development takes places only when local community people are committed to investing in themselves and their resources. Communities are built bottom-up, not top-down.

This section initially includes articles on Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) that David has previously posted on his other websites. 

22nd September 2023

‘The Connected Community’ by Cormac Russell and John McKnight

'These community stories of much to teach us about getting better at being human together. The late South African theologian Bishop Desmond Tutu popularised the term Ubuntu, which means “a person is a person through other people”, or “I am because we are.”'
21st September 2023

Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), Part 2

'In every community, there are connectors: people who value relationships more than single issues and care about community building more than problem solving. Often in the art of finding connectors, it helps to remember it takes one to know one, so once you’ve...'
20th September 2023

Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), Part 1

'Everyone has a gift (they are born with), a skill (they have learned and practiced, and could potentially share/teach), and a passion (that they act on) that they can contribute to the wellbeing of their community. Social movements grow stronger...'
19th September 2023

What is distinctive about an ABCD Process – Four Essential Elements: Cormac Russell and John McKnight

‘The primary goal of an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) process is to enhance collective citizen visioning and production. This paper discusses each of four essential elements in detail in an effort to...
18th September 2023

Sustainable Community Development – From What’s Wrong To What’s Strong: Cormac Russell

'Sadly, that focus has caused huge harm to millions of people around the world, especially poor people and especially communities. And it has created four harms, unintended as they may be in particular.'
17th September 2023

Community Building

Mental health is not a product of pharmacology or a service that can be singularly provided by an institution: it is a condition that is more determined by our community assets than our medication or access to professional interventions more generally. There are functions that only people living in families and communities can perform to promote mental health and wellbeing... there simply is no substitute for genuine citizen-led...