There are several definitions of "Community Capital", but all share the same core concepts. In short, there is no shortage of easily-accessed intellectual capital to support the idea of community capital.
Mark Roseland, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Community Development at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, has come up with the definitions we like best. The following are adapted from his book "Toward Sustainable Communities" (2005).
- Natural Capital - Trails, woodlands, wetlands, lakes, rivers, streams, wildlife, soil, the local landscape. Natural Capital is our stock of environmental assets that can continuously yield valuable goods and services.
- Physical Capital - Libraries, schools, parks, meeting rooms, auditoriums, in short, all of our actual and potential public spaces PLUS our streets, roads, water supply and other physical assets that support organized community life.
- Economic Capital - Everything that creates financial value. Among other things, creating Sustainable Economic Capital means doing more with less, keeping dollars and trade credits circulating within the community, and increasing availability of local, affordable funding for business startups and expansions.
- Cultural Capital - Ethnicity, generations, stories and traditions, spirituality, habits, and heritage.
- Human Capital - All the skills and abilities of people, leadership, knowledge, and the ability to access resources.
- Social Capital - Groups, organizations, networks in the community, the sense of belonging, bonds between people.
Fostering that care, intelligence and vision is what Sustainable Hamilton is all about. We are here to help Hamilton-based organizations build sustainable community capital through
- Intergroup networking support - Including this web portal, a newsletter and community workshops and conferences.
- Development of community partnerships - Facilitating relationships with local banks, business groups and investors to identify opportunities for high-impact targeting of State and Federal neighborhood revitalization funds and private investments.
- Organizational development support - Assistance in grant writing, fundraising, and building of intergroup partnerships
- Education and outreach - Communications support for public and private programs that build sustainable community capital
- Management consulting - Expert advisory support to improve the competitiveness of local businesses, and reduce the costs of government and non-profit operations through sustainable business practices
- Partnerships with other Sustainable Community organizations - Facilitation of interlocal programs with Sustainable Lawrence, Sustainable Cherry Hill, Sustainable Montclair, and others in the state, the region, the country, and the world
What Makes Community Capital Sustainable?
According to the Centre for Sustainable Community Development
"A sustainable community uses its resources to meet current needs while ensuring that adequate resources are available for future generations. It seeks a better quality of life for all its residents while maintaining nature’s ability to function over time by minimizing waste, preventing pollution, promoting efficiency and developing local resources to revitalize the local economy. Decision-making in a sustainable community stems from a rich civic life and shared information among community members. A sustainable community resembles a living system in which human, natural and economic elements are interdependent and draw strength from each other."
Want to interact with Sustainable Hamilton online?
Our blog is up and running with the first question of 2010: Is Hamilton a Sustainable Community? We think Hamilton CAN be a sustainable community, but needs work to get there. Add your thoughts.
Partners, Neighbors, and Friends
Sustainable Hamilton draws inspiration and ideas from other sustainable community organizations, and from like-minded local, regional, national, and international resources.
Here are some of those with whom we work and with whom we are building relationships. This list will be continually expanded and updated.
Save Hamilton Open Space
85% of Hamilton Township is already built out.
As its name implies, Save Hamilton Open Space works to preserve the 15% that remains of Hamilton Township's undeveloped farmlands, wetlands and other open space.
Save Hamilton Open Space has a Resources
page, where you can find links to
- Local and state officials
- Letters to the Editor
- Hamilton public meetings
- Environmental and Development maps and studies
- Studies of economic benefits of open space
- Nearby and state environmental advocacy groups
Sustainable Lawrence is one of New Jersey's original "sustainable community" organizations, and the inspiration for Sustainable Hamilton. Here's how it describes its mission:
"To encourage the people and institutions of Lawrence Township to cooperatively adopt fundamental principles of sustainability and to develop policies and practices that fulfill those principles. "
Sustainable Princeton is an initiative of both Princeton Township and Princeton Borough to implement Princeton's two hundred page Sustainable Princeton community plan that was created in conjunction with local residents, businesses, nonprofits and other local entities.
We have four volunteer working groups that are charged with implementing the Sustainable Princeton plan: Municipal, Business,Schools and Residential.
Contact: dlandis@Princeton-Township.nj.us to find out more or to join one of our groups!
Sustainable Cherry Hill
Sustainable Cherry Hill is one of several sustainable community groups in New Jersey. SCH describes its mission as
“To engage and educate the South Jersey community about sustainability from the ground up”
SCH strives to continuously tap Cherry Hill and the surrounding region’s greatest resource- its people- in order to shift to a sustainable way of life. We do this through hosting educational events, networking opportunities, supporting community based task forces and acting as a general clearing house of information on sustainability news, happenings, legislation and grant opportunities.
SCH is essentially a community group in that our approach to sustainability recognizes that everyone making small changes results in big differences collectively. As such, it is critical that we establish and nurture relationships with all area stakeholders, including government, schools, businesses, faith groups, other community groups and individuals from all over South Jersey.
Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia
Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia includes companies throughout the Delaware Valley. SBN member companies provide sustainable products or provide services using sustainable materials.