Summary: Designed to be widely accessible without sacrificing depth, Building Community Capacity provides a theoretically informed, systematic exploration of this fundamental issue. The authors combine a wealth of practical experience working with community-based initiatives with a deep theoretical understanding of the problems facing communities today to produce a clear definition of the concept of community capacity and a pointed review of strategies intended to foster it. ...show moreClearly and in detail, providing a systematic framework for comprehensive thinking about a cluster of related activities, they explore the choices and issues that must be confronted by all who share a practical interest in strengthening poor neighborhoods.
Building Community Capacity draws widely on both academic and applied research. It uses existing knowledge as a basis for a synthetic analysis of substantial primary source material, including key-informant interviews with participants in community-building initiatives; data derived from in-depth implementation studies of certain core cases; and documentary and interview data from additional initiatives and organizations that are engaged in community-capacity building efforts. Data from the core cases consist of information and experience gathered in the documentation and evaluation of three major initiatives, allowing the detailed exploration to be sensitive to the nuances of approach, process, and context that inform the implementation of these efforts and condition their effects.
Taken together, the cases represent a cross-section of the field of community-capacity building efforts, illustrating the range of strategies, contexts, actors, and implementation issues that have been encountered across a spectrum of community capacity building efforts. To ensure that the lessons to be drawn from in-depth analysis are broadly representative, the authors also develop a list of numerous other community-based initiatives, which they use to contextualize, illustrate, draw out, refine, confirm, and challenge what they see in the core cases.