Why Asset-Based Community Development is not a Model
Asset-Based Community Development is not a model, it is a description of how people join together – at hyper local level – to use what they have, to get what they all agree they want.
Regardless of context, Asset Based Community Development has some common features (described by John McKnight in last week’s blog). It is an approach that is:
1. relationship focused.
2. capacity oriented /asset based.
3. Internally driven/place based.
So why is it not a model? Well to answer that I need to define what I understand ‘a model’ to typically mean.
As a noun it tends to have the following meanings:
- Classic exemplar
- Prime example
As an adjective, synonyms like these come to mind:
None of these nouns or adjectives capture Asset-Based Community Development. Indeed, I’d like to suggest that words describing the very opposite of a what a model is are far more apt in describing ABCD.
So, what is the opposite of model?
That which is:
Everything I’ve seen on the ground since I started working through the ABCD approach continues to confirm that it is an iterative, context specific, messy approach that can’t be standardised, replicated, industrialised and brought to scale. Nor can it be managed or controlled.
That’s not to suggest it does not have a core or an essence as John McKnight describes it, but that it is not a model.