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The Basic Manual

Building Communities from the Inside Out cover image
Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets (1993).

By John P. Kretzmann, John L. McKnight
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Across the United States, communities are in trouble. In our cities, economies sputter, social ties weaken, and political power fades. But everywhere, creative local leaders are fighting back, rebuilding neighborhoods and communities. And they are succeeding by starting with what they already have. In the face of diminished prospects for outside help, they are turning first of all to their neighbors and to the local citizens associations and institutions that lie at the heart of their community.

Original Greenbook Team
​​Original Building Communities from the Inside Out team

This guide to what the authors call "asset-based community development" summarizes lessons learned by studying successful community-building initiatives in hundreds of neighborhoods across the United States. It outlines in simple, "neighborhood-friendly" terms what local communities can do to start their own journeys down the path of asset-based development. This guide will be helpful to local community leaders, leaders of local associations and institutions, government officials, and leaders in the philanthropic and business communities who wish to support effective community-building strategies. 

The guide is no longer in print, but can be found below as a free downloadable pdf both in its full form and broken down into chapters. If you are looking for a physical copy of the book  you can find used copies from a variety of sellers at Abe Books

Download the full PDF of the Book 

Download the Introduction
Download the Table of Contents
Download Chapter 1: Releasing Individual Capacities
Download Chapter 2: Releasing the Power of Local Associations and Organizations
Download Chapter 3: Capturing Local Institutions for Community Building
Download Chapter 4: Rebuilding the Community Economy
Download Chapter 5​: Asset-Based Community Development: Mobilizing an Entire Community
Download Chapter 6Providing Support for Asset-Based Development: Policies and Guidelines