Across different fields, from regeneration and community development to health, a new language of ‘assets’ is helping practitioners find new ways of tackling old issues. The 2007 Quirk Review was a landmark publication that helped to open up this territory, investigating community development approaches to asset transfer. More recently, there has been an avalanche of publications from a wide range of organisations, especially umbrella bodies such as the Development Trusts Association whose ‘Bearing Fruit’ report looked at the opportunities and challenges of transferring tangible assets such as land and buildings to community control. Carnegie’s Manifesto for Rural Communities (2009) advocated that ‘assets’ took inspiration from international best practice such as that championed by the Coady Institute in Nova Scotia. Regional community development networks are also actively exploring this territory.
This report is intended to complement all this work by showcasing international, UK and Irish experience of ‘appreciating assets’. We will see that practice in the UK and Ireland can stand tall alongside international examples. Throughout, we share questions that practitioners across many contexts seem to be grappling with. Our intention is that these questions can offer readers pause for reflection around key points that contributors to this report have identified as being important.