Because it works. With a focus in the strengths, gifts, passions, physical assets, cultural assets, economic assets, institutions, local organisations it puts the members of the community at the centre. It puts people in control of those things that impact them.
ABCD provides a simple approach that starts with the people who are in the community and what they can leverage to create the best results for their world. It is about connection and creating community. By connecting people to each other and empowering them to use their passions, interests and assets a situation of social change where they are in control results.
When neighbours are connected to each other a street is more than where your house is. A sense of place and belonging is created. Getting to know neighbours is more than a social nicety and more than creating warm and fuzzy feelings. It creates safe and connected places and builds social capital i.e. creates benefits that come from developing trust, reciprocating behaviour, sharing information and cooperation through the creation of social networks. Connecting with others around us makes safer places and friendlier spaces. Like financial capital social capital creates value for the individual. By doing this we end up with great communities, not just places where people eat, sleep and watch TV.
It is not about providing another program or service. It is not something coming from outside the community to provide those things someone from an agency or bureaucracy has decided is what the community “needs” but it is the community themselves deciding on how to use what they already have to create what they want.
By its very nature ABCD creates partnerships and collaboration. It entails people working together so that they are co producers of their own future. Networks are created. People work together on those things they are passionate about or have knowledge about. And it is this working together strengthens community. By working from the “grass roots” or the bottom up community become owners. They don’t need to be engaged. They already are.
This is where it all gets exciting. People coming together to form communities based on the individual and corporate strengths they already have creates change and creates great places. These are places where there is high trust, great social capital and support. These are safe places. The sort of places we all want to live in.