The Impact of Events on Community Capital

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As technology grows, the world has become more interconnected. This has enabled quick and free movement of people and information across the globe. Events and festivals happening in one corner of the world can now be followed by people from far away locations from the super bowl, world cup soccer tournaments to simple celebrations in small towns. The impact has been an immense growth of the events and festival industry accounting to trillions of dollars annually. These include regular events that are large enough to attract government support services like police for security and clean up services, one-time events that only occur over a period of time like the Olympics games to small events like weddings, carnivals, and corporate celebrations. Despite consensus on the importance of these events, there is a debate on how to measure and quantify these impacts to the host communities, visitors who attend these events and to businesses that offer services in these events (Kline & Oliver, Beyond Economic Benefits: Exploring the Effects of Festivals and Eventson Community Capitals, 2015). Most models for measuring these benefits concentrate on the short-term economic benefits accrued during the period these events are occurring. The analysis fails to capture the long-term social benefits that are associated with hosting these events to all participating parties. For example, a visitor attending a world cup in Russia come 2018 may be impressed with the country, that he or she ends up going back there a couple of times. If the economic impact of Russia hosting this global event was only measured from the expenditure the visitor makes during the visit, then the economic benefits accrued over the repeated visit may be excluded. Similarly there are numerous impacts both positive and negative that may be realized by all those attending and facilitating these events.

 Kline and Oliver (2015) identify the Community Capitals Framework (CCF) to help stakeholders in this industry better understand the benefit both short and long-term in order to maximize returns. Developed by Flora and Flora, CCF is an all-inclusive system that proposes seven different types of capital within the community and how they might interact around and through to promote the success of these events (Kline & Oliver, Beyond Economic Benefits: Exploring the Effects of Festivals and Eventson Community Capitals, 2015). These types of capital are

I.    Natural capital: they include communities' location-based resources like rivers, lakes, forests, good weather and all other natural factors that make an area attractive and naturally beautiful.

II.    Cultural Capital: These are the cultural factors that make a community unique and attractive. These factors include multi-lingual populations, assorted ethnic festivals, community work ethics, heritage and attractive traditions.

III.    Human Capital: These encompasses the skills held by the host community, their abilities, and capacity to access both local and external resources and knowledge that can help them better their practices and activities. The model goes further to include able leadership that is inclusive and participatory augmenting the success of these events in the community through enhanced community involvement.

IV.    Social Capital: They represent the ties that exist within community members that help build a cohesive community and help bridge ties between organizations within the community and the community itself.

V.    Political Capital: involves the existence of a framework to come up with policies which help the community influence and come up with rules and regulations to be followed and standard to be met and how they are going to be enforced.

VI.    Financial Capital: These are the financial resources available to a community to enable them to support entrepreneurship, community and business development and building the community’s capacity.

VII.    Built Capital:  defines the infrastructural development put in place by the community to support it. They include good roads, railway systems, water and sewage systems, good building plans, industrial parks, stadia, etc. Built capital is mainly man-made and is an indication of good community development efforts.

The community capital framework evaluates the benefits of an event to the society from a system point of view taking into account all the effect of the event to all the different forms of capital and how the effects intermingle with each other. The different forms of capital highlighted in the model are considered interconnected and not in isolation.

 Even though various methods are at this time used to measure the impact of festivals and events to different stakeholder, most of these measures emphasize the economic benefits accrued to the host community. Expenditure by visitors to the host community is normally captured and estimate revenue to the host community and to determine net financial benefits. To have a holistic view of the benefits accrued, some researchers have proposed including intangible benefits and costs like the extended production of products used in the event and increase in civic pride of the community from showcasing their culture and heritage to visitors (Kline & Oliver, Beyond Economic Benefits: Exploring the Effects of Festivals and Eventson Community Capitals, 2015). They also propose the inclusion of specific economic gains in induced infrastructure development, increase in trade and an increase in property values. In this approach, it also important to include social costs to the society which manifest in form of noise pollution, traffic snarl-ups, vandalism, damage to property, increased crime rate and crowding all which disrupt the day to day way of life of the host community. There are also economic costs involved in this model. They include exodus of residents during the period of festivals, interruption to businesses and under-utilized infrastructure. Other research has attempted to capture the different social and economic benefits and costs. Gursoy et al. (2004) separated the perceived benefits into increased community cohesiveness experienced during events, monetary benefits, social incentives and social costs.

The success of CCF mode is highlighted in the study of HandMade in America a non-profit organization in North Carolina which is dedicated to the conservation of craft heritage. The organization identified tourism as a viable economic growth strategy for their service area in the Appalachian Maintains in 1996 (Kline & Oliver, Beyond Economic Benefits: Exploring the Effects of Festivals and Eventson Community Capitals, 2015). They developed a guidebook designed to attract tourists to the rural community where they could interact with artists in their natural surroundings. The study uses Community Capitals Framework to demonstrate how Hand Made’s strategy to draw visitors into the rural community impacted different forms of community capital. This holistic approach clearly showed all the ripple benefits and costs to the host community as a result of continually hosting visitors over a period of time.

In summary, the core difference between community capital framework and other models of measuring social and economic benefits and costs is that CCF considers all forms of capital as part of a system. This helps all the stakeholders within the industry make the necessary change to help them maximize profits from this events and festivals.


Kline, C. (2017). Applying the Community Capitals Framework to the Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 489-507.

Kline, C., & Oliver, J. (2015). Beyond Economic Benefits: Exploring the Effects of Festivals and Eventson Community Capitals. Wallingford: CABI.

Pigg, K., Gasteyer, S. P., Martin, K. E., & Keati, K. (2013). The Community Capitals Framework: An Empirical Examination of Internal Relationships. Community Development, 492-502.

October 30, 2023

Business Economics Life

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