Asset-Based Community Development

PAS QuickNotes 97

By Alexsandra Gomez


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Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) is an approach that uses the existing resources of a community to support its development. Rather than focusing on challenges or resources that are lacking, ABCD seeks to identify often unrecognized assets produced by local individuals, associations, and institutions, and then works to build on those assets to sustain a community and support its growth.

Planners can use an asset-based lens to uncover the natural ways that communities thrive despite disadvantage or disinvestment, which can then inform their planning decisions. Each community has a unique set of assets that are place based and steeped in local history and culture, and planners may not have the perspective or knowledge needed to identify those assets. ABCD offers planners a process for learning directly from community members what they find meaningful and what is necessary for their community to prosper.

This edition of PAS QuickNotes highlights how planners can use ABCD to inform solution-oriented and conscious practices in all aspects of the planning process and advance equitable and restorative planning.


Page Count
Date Published
Dec. 1, 2021
American Planning Association

About the Author

Alexsandra Gomez
Alexsandra Gomez is a policy analyst at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Her work is primarily in the Safe and Complete Streets program. She formerly worked as a research associate at the American Planning Association, where she supported sponsored and strategic research projects and write for APA publications. She has a background in cultural geography and anthropology and applies these disciplines to planning research and practice. Her research interests include urban political ecology, geographies of power, and equitable community-led development.