A mindful approach to thinking about Assets, and ABCD

I’ve noticed a lot a great on-line unpacking going on regarding assets and what they are and what they are not at the recent NEF workshop. Here’s my two cents worth…I made it short and sweet..,..as I recognise that time is an asset we have less and less security of access to…

Bill Mollison usefully reminds use that assets can be thought of through the lens of two basic questions:

"What can I get from this land, or person? or
What does this person, or land, have to give if I cooperate with them?"
Of these two approaches,
the former leads to war and waste,
the latter to peace and plenty.”
-- Bill Mollison, co-founder of permaculture

The latter quest(ion) is helpful in explaining what ‘A’ refers to in ABCD, the former what is not meant: the supra-asset is in knowing how to approach the asset(s); possessing the mindfulness by which one (a community organiser, or community leader) identifies, connects, and mobilises assets, is the at the heart of the matter and the key to ABCD. Hence, why I feel so strongly that ABCD is not at its core about Asset Mapping.

On a related point it is nearly impossible to meaningfully speak about asset from an ABCD perspective anyway, without connecting the conversation with the agency of citizens, and the inherent of value of citizen driven development. Discussions about assets that do not make this link, run the risk of running head-long into intellectual cul-de-sac


Cormac Russell
ABCD Institute

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Comment by Jane Foot on January 22, 2010 at 14:27
i agree with Cormac about the danger of detaching asset mapping from asset based community development. There are already a few examples of agencies ' mapping assets' i.e. making an inventory of association and organisational assets in order to connect them more closely to local service delivery and the duplication/efficiency agenda. But they are not taking the step to mapping with individuals or to community development and citizen-led improvements. Or seeing the potential for ABCD to turn what are seen as liabilities into potential assets for change.

There is a real danger that asset working will be made use of as part of the Government's efficiency drive - citizen resources being seen as alternatives to services which can therefore be cut, rather than about the redirection and reshaping of service interventions to support citizen led change and sustain resilience rather than undermining it.

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