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By : Geci Karuri , Mwansa Saidi

There has been a range of initiatives in South Africa aimed at determining how community-based approaches such as Community Asset Management (CAM) can be enabled and supported through mainstream public infrastructure delivery and development practice. One of the critical issues emerging is around the need to clarify and specify roles and processes in CAM projects where the effective role of the community itself is central to the success and sustainability of projects. This paper calls attention to the importance of community participation and empowerment in these development projects, and begins to highlight the paradigm shift that this would require with respect to professional roles in the delivery of the built environment. As a first step towards better defining the new roles and structures that are required, this paper identifies the prevailing attitudes and perceptions of the traditional built environment professionals in South Africa towards participatory projects. In so doing it draws upon a survey whose findings are presented and used as a basis for determining the key obstacles and constraints facing professionals in the effective implementation of participatory, community-based projects. The conclusions and recommendations offered are intended as considerations for researchers and development agents who are grappling with the complex but critical issues of how to enable effective asset-based community development.
Keywords : Community Asset Management, Built Environment Professionals, Professional Attitudes And Perceptions, Participatory Development, Community Empowerment, Community-Based

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