The Community Capital Lab

About Us

Most people struggle to balance multiple objectives. At the individual level we might think we need to choose between sleep and exercise. At the community level we might think that we need to choose between affordable housing and energy efficiency. At the global level we might think we need to choose between the environment and the economy. But wait – these are false trade-offs! Sleep and exercise are both important goals, as are affordable housing and energy efficiency, and a healthy environment and a prosperous economy. Being forced to choose between values we cherish is a sign that we are not framing the issues properly – and that we are not asking the right questions.

Community Capital is a framework that helps us avoid these false trade-offs, and that helps us identify those sweet spots where a single initiative can have multiple co-benefits. Community Capital is a way of thinking about the effects of individual development projects, and/or of community development at large, based on several mutually-reinforcing forms of capital. Community Capital may include natural, physical, economic/financial, human, social, cultural, and/or political forms of capital.

The Community Capital Lab, under the direction of Dr. Mark Roseland, conducts research and develops tools and applications. We work with communities, governments, foundations, businesses, and civil society to advance an integrated holistic approach to dialogue, decision-making, monitoring and assessment. Based at Arizona State University, we are pleased to work with researcher and practitioner partners across the country and around the world.

Community Capital Framework – an example

This is how Lab director Mark Roseland conceptualizes Community Capital.

Source: M. Roseland, Toward Sustainable Communities: Solutions for Citizens and Their Governments (New Society Publishers, 4th edition, 2012).