Asset-Based Community Development


After considering the previous projects that have experienced unexpected adjustments in their plans, it was important to begin the development process by planning alongside local leaders with the community assets in mind. As described by the Asset Based Community Development Institute, “local assets are the primary building blocks of sustainable community development” (“The Asset-Based Community Development Institute”, 2009); with this in mind, the execution of the project will focus on community-driven work. This approach will provide the community members with the knowledge and tools necessary for upholding the project outcomes into the future.

Identifying Flamingo Crescent’s assets before project execution begins was a fundamental step. This is demonstrated through previous Cape Town projects such as the 2011 Maitland Garden Village team. They applied the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) approach to organize the Green Light Project for the community. Through this project, the residents learned its strengths and how to use them to encourage participation. This led to the creation of several committees that continued to emphasize the community’s strengths. As a result, the team left behind a structure that fits the area’s interests and promotes balanced community development. The ABCD method relies on contextual observation of positive qualities in a community. This realization is meant to inspire the community to get involved, to appreciate their progress, and to identify with the improvements.
Identifying these assets in the Flamingo Crescent community was crucial to protect and facilitate the already established progress occurring.

Throughout the planning and development process of this project, emphasis was placed on utilizing asset-based approaches as well as incorporating community input and involvement. The methodologies of Shack Dwellers International (SDI), a people centered development organization, can serve as a guide to achieving this goal. Instead of looking at the poor as the problem in informal settlements, SDI considers them the answer (Ellis, SDI). The founders of the SDI viewed informal settlements as the efforts of people taking initiative to tackle an issue the government was failing to successfully address. This mindset evolved into a programme that begins by gathering information directly from residents to identify issues, implements the Savings programme to gather funds, and then begins the housing upgrading process employing labor efforts of the community members themselves. This process allows informal settlements to take control of the redevelopment process. Drawing from these concepts, we can not only ensure community satisfaction but also aid in developing a sense of pride amongst the residents.


Ellis, B. (2012). SDI South African Alliance. 2014, from
The Asset-Based Community Development Institute. (2009). 2014, from