Table of Contents

  • Community capacity building has a critical role to play in local development. With its focus on enabling all members of the community, including the poorest and the most disadvantaged, to develop skills and competencies so as to take greater control of their own lives, community capacity building contributes to inclusive local development. Not only can communities be more cohesive but they can also be more resilient and better placed to confront economic and social challenges. Meaningful and effective community capacity building can be stimulated and fostered by national and local governments, and by the capacity which communities have already developed, so that power becomes increasingly embedded within them.

  • This chapter examines the ideas of community development and community capacity building, and the links between them as well as and their differences and similarities. Following this, there is a brief consideration of the key ideas presented in the subsequent chapters, namely the role of community capacity building in the areas of health, housing and re-generation (Chapter 2), the contribution which meaningful community capacity building can make to local economic development (Chapter 3), and, finally, the growing awareness of the ideas of environmental justice and sustainable development and the importance of community capacity building in fostering these. (Chapter 4) The chapter concludes by bringing together the major findings and conclusions of each of these chapters in order to identify the issues which may hinder meaningful community capacity building, and those elements which are central to successful community capacity building.

  • This chapter examines the way in which the practice of community capacity building can be understood in the context of social development generally, and within the welfare sectors of housing, health and community regeneration particularly. Whilst the context of community capacity building varies from one sector to another, from the entrenched power of health professionals vis-à-vis the “community” of health users to a longer history of debate within housing work, a range of common issues emerges from examining practice in these sectors. Drawing broadly on examples from OECD member countries in the three areas of social policy identified, this chapter explores these issues including the confusing use of language, the disparate power held by statutory partners as compared to the community when negotiating over building capacity, and a range of internal and external factors which promote, or impede, community capacity building.

  • This chapter considers the theories of community capacity building and social capital and their connections and inter-relationships with strategies to develop and sustain local economies. Theories and policies are described, and a series of international examples provided that show how policy makers’ ambitions to boost economic development and community capacity building should be delivered in unison. The chapter explores a series of examples from the private, public and non-profit sectors, including policies that promote inward investment, local entrepreneurship and franchised business development, as well as new and alternative models for social and economic business development such as co-operatives, time banks, reinvestment trusts and local exchange trading schemes. Specific examples of firms and experiences in North America and Europe, focusing on deprived areas in cities such as Chicago, Birmingham, Leeds, Barcelona and Stockholm and on rural economic development in Canada and Italy, are detailed.

  • Community capacity building in the area of the environment is an area of growing interest. The recognition that environmental ills are often confronted by those from the most vulnerable parts of society, such as the poor and migrant communities, has led to increased demands for environmental justice within the framework of sustainable development. Beginning with a discussion of the ideas of sustainable development and environmental justice, the chapter then goes on to explore the role and contribution of community capacity building within these frameworks. Utilising case studies from Europe, the Americas and Australasia, this chapter identifies key determinants for successful community capacity building in the environmental sector.