At a young age, we learn our ABC’s – a concept and learning system that sticks with us for our entire lives. This way of thinking and organizing ideas is still happening today. For example, Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is a growing movement that realizes that local assets are the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. ABCD builds on the:
- skills of the residents
- power of local coalitions
- supportive functions of local businesses and government entities
Communities that are able to maintain themselves use their resources to meet current needs and ensures the life of available resources for future generations.
Why You Should Care about ABCD
ABCD is used to shift the focus from neighborhood deficits to neighborhood strengths. As a result, this helps residents realize positive outcomes and widespread engagement.
Locally, Richmond Columbian Properties has focused on promoting education and advocacy for neighborhood and community restoration. Using a central location, such as the William G. Scott House and Event Center, allows community members to come together to learn more about existing community resources. Through this experience, we are finding strength through human capital.
Through collaborative engagement and motivation to act, Richmond Columbian Properties has hosted educational, artistic, and cultural events that lend great significance to highlighting the strengths of the Starr Historic District neighborhood.
“Join us. We need you.” – 12 Principles that Guide ABCD
Great losses occur when communities address social and economic problems with only a small amount of their total capacity of people and resources. Every neighborhood we live in is strengthened by who and what is in it. My next door neighbor, for example, enjoys getting to know new neighbors and is involved in day-to-day happenings on our block. Her strength is bringing people together and knowing the needs and wants of the people that live near us. In the ABCD model, the individual strength is recognized.
Just as it is important to highlight what people bring to the community, it is also important to highlight what the community itself has to offer by way of amenities. Earlier, I highlighted how cool the Starr Historic District is and how a group is specifically focusing on building off of what is already there to help move the community forward. In each of our communities, we have potential to make great things happen. If we do not take time to realize what the people and place resources are to make that happen, we will likely not be able to use all that our neighborhood has to offer.
DePaul University, in a document contributed to the Toolkit by the Collaborative for Neighborhood Transformation, outlined 12 principals that guide ABCD, including:
- Everyone has gifts.
- People care about something.
- Citizens at the center.
These principals highlight the value in:
- inspiring engagement throughout communities
- being prepared to listen
- using of organizations in a supporting role
These principals align with the backbone function of Forward Wayne County within the Wayne County area. Projects focusing on Our Place and Our People are led by residents, supported by institutions, such as government, non-profits, and businesses, and the process is facilitated by Forward Wayne County in order to promote a citizen-centered framework of community engagement and change.
Communities are diverse and potent webs of gifts. Each community has assets with unique skills and capabilities geared toward community development. In a supporting role, Forward Wayne County tallies up the people resources and place resources that are unique[ to our areas and helps communities create plans to best use these resources to make positive changes across the county.
Now, it’s your turn! Tell us about your community! Who do you identify as an individual in your community that has assets and gifts? What community associations are available in your neighborhood? Are there any association that are desperately needed in your area?
Share insight about your community with Forward Wayne County on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn! Be sure to use the hashtag #forwardINwayne when talking about your local assets and neighborhood development stories!