What lies within? : an exploration of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)

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Winther, Tracy
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Social Practice
Unitec Institute of Technology
Connor, Helene
Conway, Kim
Haigh, David
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Lyttelton (Christchurch, N.Z.)
Christchurch (N.Z.)
Project Lyttelton (N.Z.)
Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)
sustainable development
community practice
community resources
New Zealand
Winther, T. (2015). What lies within? : An exploration of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Social Practice, Unitec Institute of Technology.
Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) has in recent times been gaining visibility in community development practice. Practice is asset based, internally focused and relationship driven. Dimensions of community development are explored including the specific values, principles and processes that characterise ABCD as an approach, a strategy and a methodology. Critical success factors and principles of effective community development practice. These findings are consolidated in a framework of praxis indicators which is used to specifically examine ABCD practice application in current community development practice. Three community projects are explored using an integrated methodology which explores practice through questioning of key informants and examination of relevant project artefacts. Through this approach it was possible to demonstrate how ABCD is mobilised in practical application demonstrating the positive impact on community led participation and enhanced local social capital within localised community. Particular strengths of ABCD practice can be seen in the identification and mobilisation of local community resources through bonding, bridging and linking across sector networks which through its processes enhances social capital within defined local neighbourhoods. The impacts of practice are explored through the application of a community capitals framework which additionally highlights mobilisation of natural, built, human, cultural, financial and political capital. Specific enablers identified include the necessity for a catalyst to both ignite and sustain community led ABCD initiatives and consideration of scale in its effectiveness. Potentially ABCD practice could be further enhanced through intentional application of a community capitals framework and social network analysis and further research into its intentional application in these ways would be beneficial. ABCD is shown to be a particularly powerful approach, strategy and methodology in its application to activating the local physical environment such as local food security initiatives and also as a mechanism to enable the localised sharing of knowledge and resources within a defined geographic neighbourhoods. Innovative financial models were developed including community resource banks, time banks and diverse alternative economy potential. Project location: Lyttelton, Banks Peninsula, Christchurch. Project Lyttelton - the soul of a sustainable community.
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