Community ownership of physical assets: challenges, complexities and implications

S Skerratt, C Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


Within rural development policy and practice there is increasing emphasis on asset ownership and management by communities, emphasizing empowerment, inclusion and securing of local futures. Asset-Based Community Development and Community Capitals models support this view. To the majority, this is part of an appropriate, normative shift towards realizing rights of place-based communities. A minority have concerns over the largely unspoken challenges and risks. We review these contentions within the context of new data relating to the totemic rural village hall. We conducted a survey of 347 village hall committees, and present our findings within an assets framework. We highlight complexities where: built assets may be liabilities; the financial asset-base of village halls is not robust; human assets are vulnerable in terms of succession and governance. Our findings show the need for: assessing complexities of asset ownership; evaluating community capacity for asset ownership; providing support where required; and longer-term investment rather than short-term spend. We thus qualify the normative drive towards asset ownership as the mechanism for sustainable economic development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170 - 181
Number of pages12
JournalLocal Economy
Publication statusFirst published - 2011

Bibliographical note



  • Asset-based development
  • Community ownership
  • Village halls

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