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Health Educ Behav. 1998 Jun;25(3):258-78.

Identifying and defining the dimensions of community capacity to provide a basis for measurement.

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Department of Community Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA.


Although community capacity is a central concern of community development experts, the concept requires clarification. Because of the potential importance of community capacity to health promotion, the Division of Chronic Disease Control and Community Intervention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), convened a symposium in December 1995 with the hope that a consensus might emerge regarding the dimensions that are integral to community capacity. This article describes the dimensions that the symposium participants suggested as central to the construct, including participation and leadership, skills, resources, social and interorganizational networks, sense of community, understanding of community history, community power, community values, and critical reflection. The dimensions are not exhaustive but may serve as a point of departure to extend and refine the construct and to operationalize ways to assess capacity in communities.

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