John McKnight

John McKnight is emeritus professor of education and social policy and codirector of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University. He is the coauthor of Building Communities from the Inside Out and the author of The Careless Society. He has been a community organizer and serves on the boards of several national organizations that support neighborhood development.
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Losing by Playing the Blame Game

If you attend the meetings of many neighborhood organizations, their focus is mainly on local issues. These often include unruly youth, dangerous alleys, graffiti, lack of jobs, dangerous police, drug sales, belligerent local merchants, the incompetent teachers in the...

Transparency And Trust: From ‘Looking In’ To ‘Being In’

One explanation for the failings of our democracy is that government is not trusted. One aspect of the national dialogue on restoring trust in government suggests that a critical reform is government transparency. The proposition is that the work...

A Citizen-Centered Culture: A Tale Of Two Neighborhoods

The Dutch Association of Mayors invited me, as a representative of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute, to visit their 20 largest cities and share an asset-based approach with neighborhood leaders in each city. In one of the first cities I...

Creating Trust: The Unique Power of Associations

  It is not difficult to distinguish the functions of physical tools from each other. No one uses a saw to drive a nail into a piece of wood. Likewise, no one attempts to cut a piece of wood with a...

How Institutional Leaders Can Transform Their System into a Member of Local Neighborhoods

Traditionally, these Learnings share knowledge we have gained from innovative neighborhood and local institutional leaders. This Learning is different because in it a great institutional innovator speaks for himself.   The innovator speaking here is Mike Butler, Retired Public Safety Chief...

Learning 38: Waiting to Contribute: The Key to Maximizing Citizen Participation

One form of community organizing involves local citizens in collective action focused on issue.  Issues emerge from tensions and contentions. They reflect the dissatisfaction or anger felt by local residents.  Often, “citizen participation” is used to indicate the number of...

Effective Police Reform: The Transfer Of Authority

In order to respond to demands for police reform, local governments across the United States have created special committees to develop new policies to eliminate police abuse and misconduct. Usually composed of citizens and government members, their common goal...

Attributes, Roles and Culture within Neighborhoods

In a recent podcast by The Neighboring Movement, hosts Adam Barlow-Thompson and Matt Johnson were joined by John McKnight to discuss the six (possibly even seven) attributes of a culture of contribution, how these characteristics in a community could...

Learning 37: ABCD, Jazz and the Structure of Powerful Communities

During the first year of the Covid pandemic, many neighborhood organizations and block clubs stopped their traditional face-to-face meetings. Nonetheless, in many locations these groups spontaneously initiated innovative community activities. In many neighborhoods with no community groups, new and...

The Neighborhood as a Sacred Place

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BprBr1XVxE In his keynote talk for the Parish Collective’s Inhabit 2020 At Home Conference, John draws on insights from Walter Brueggemann and Dave Chapelle to explain how participants can turn their neighborhoods into sacred places. When John asked him what makes...