I often get asked what books or blogs I would recommend. Below are just a few suggestions.
What’s on my bookshelf?
Building Communities from the Inside Out; A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets By John P. Kretzmann, John L. McKnight This is the original Asset Based Community Development manual … but it is a tome. While it is the giant on whose shoulders many of the following have stood I believe what is has to offer has been better refined and made more accessible by others since.
Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making. Some great tools in here but many of them are obvious. Chapters contrast ways of viewing certain people groups (eg, older people, people experiencing homelessness) as either people with needs or assets. It can sometimes feel a little rose-coloured.
ABCD in Action; When People Care Enough to Act by Mike Green with Henry Moore & John O’Brien. Written for their two daughters who have both known discrimination. One for her skin colour and the other for being labelled as disabled. Author Mike Green says: ‘We want so much that our daughters know a community life that is truly good….my dream has always been that Anne will the get the chance to live a life where she is needed for her gifts’ Here is a taste of the book.
When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett, Brian Fikkert this book is great for those struggling to marry theology and Asset Based Community Development. Commissioned by World Vision it has also been mandatory reading for Compassion workers. Here is a taste of the book.
Walking with the Poor by Bryant Myers for transformational development which is drawn from the best principles and practice of international development and Christian NGOs. He provides a more holistic approach that ceases to treat the spiritual and physical domains of life as separate and unrelated. Here is a taste of the book.
Walk Out Walk On by Meg Wheatley and Deborah Frieze. This book is the stories of seven communities around the world who have walked out of limiting beliefs and assumptions and walked on to create healthy and resilient communities- using what they have (assets) to meet create what they need.
Deepening Community by Paul Born This book offers found pillars for deep community: sharing our stories, taking the time to enjoy one another, taking care of one another, and working together for a better world. Community shapes our identity, quenches our thirst for belonging, and bolsters our physical, mental, emotional, and economic health. But in the chaos of modern life, community ties have become unraveled, leaving many feeling afraid or alone in the crowd. Born shows that the opportunity to create community is right in front of us.
Some shorter documents worth a look:
The Art of Powerful Questions; Catalyzing Insight, Innovation and Action by Eric E Vogt, Juanita Brown and David Isaacs A well framed question can transform a meeting, can overcome flagging moral and can be the doorway for those break-through creative solutions that we all long for in community work. More thoughts on why questions are important.
A Glass Half-Full: How an Asset Approach Can Improve Community Health and Wellbeing while it has a health focus there is a lot this document can contribute more generally to community development.
Civic Engagement and the Restoration of Community; Changing the Nature of the Conversation by Peter Block. This document addresses the power of language. How we speak and listen to each other is the medium through which a more positive future is created or denied.
Making Headway; Building Your Community. A reasonably simple Asset Based Community Development Tool Kit from the Central Coast of Australia.
Websites and Blogs:
- The Bank if I.D.E.A.S. and the ABCD Institute both have extensive free downloadable resources.
- The Art of Hosting has a lot of practical tools you can play with in your community.
- I’m quite a fan of the work of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI)
- I attended a workshop with these creative designers a few years back
- I currently follow a number of blogs in this area (listed down the right side of my home page) including Wendy Mccaig and Richard Harmer
Check out this clip summing up Asset Based Community Development in just 3 minutes
As these are very similar tools, models and methods there is a lot of cross over- please don’t get overwhelmed. Just enter where you can and enjoy exploring.
What are your favourite resources from this area? Leave me a comment below.