Community funding, or setting up community fund, is an innovative way of financing housing. It is growing fast in many countries, but its mechanisms and managerial practices have received little academic attention. Consequently, this study aims to investigate the mechanisms of city-level community funding known as the city development fund (CDF) which is well established in Thailand. This qualitative research was conducted through multi-source data. The study reveals that the design of CDFs was based on four established concepts in the citywide program. These are networking, collectivity, decentralization, and combination of bottom-up and top-down management. The Thai CDF operates four primary components. These are its members, committees, types of funding, and supporters. They are linked at five levels ranging from the local community level savings to national-level funds. Such linkages make the CDF crucial as a financial and social intermediary in terms of savings mobilization, delivering loans for housing and livelihood improvements, as well as developing the urban poor's management skills. Findings of the current study contribute towards a better understanding of how CDFs operate and the roles of all stakeholders. Lessons learned from the Thai case study can be applied to promote setting up city-based funding and integrated into housing finance policy in other contexts as well.
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