Community Asset Mapping

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Asset and Resource Mapping can be done using multiple methods:

1. Face to Face Interviewing

2.Self administered-Mailed interviews

3. Group interviews-Focus groups

4. Phone Interviews

5 .Appreciative Inquiry

From the Falls Brook Centre in New Brunswick, Canada, this article  by Sophie-Michele Cyr gives an overview of Community Asset Mapping.

What are community assets?

Assets are defined as popularly recognized attributes and advantages of a community. They are considered essential for the maintenance of rural life and vital for the sustainability of the economy, society and environment in rural Canada. Assets are what we want to keep, build upon and sustain for future generations.

These assets are bundled into groups: natural (such as environment and water), build (physical things we build, including infrastructures), social (the social aspect of living in the community), economic (jobs and a varied economy that people and communities draw on for their livelihoods), service (such as health and educational services) or they can be intangible like the work of volunteer, people’s skills and expertise.

What is asset mapping?

It helps you to think positively about the place in which you live and work. It also challenges you to recognize how other people see and experience the same community. Mapping community assets means:

  • collecting an inventory of all the good things about your community;
  • ranking the most valued aspects of your community; and,
  • discovering the reasons why people place high value on assets in your community.

Once you have this map of the valued aspects of your community, you can collectively strategize about how to build on the assets in order to sustain and enhance them for future generations.

Why use it?

Asset Mapping produces a common view of what is considered important in a community. It provides a useful starting point, potentially leading to a strategic planning process and/or community/organizational development. The process of asset mapping provides a critical element of community development – the engagement of people in the shaping of their community. From Needs to Assets: Needs Divide While Assets Provide. Recognizing common assets changes the way we think about our communities because it unites people around a positive identity and a collective cause. Needs approach tend to divide people and communities. Articulating needs often becomes a competitive process and frequently pits communities and organizations against each other.

Asset mapping celebrates differences rather than homogeneity.

Recognizing that different assets are important to different populations and interest groups is critical when selecting the strategies necessary to sustain these assets. The asset mapping process has the potential to be inclusive of all community dimensions, features and interests. People from the rural area are the best tool; communities already know a lot about how to mobilize their assets to deal with rural difficulties (distance between places, services and amenities).

It is critical to have a broad spectrum of the community, including: youth people and elderly, people with different economic means, occupations, languages and ethnic identities. It is a major step to establishment of common cause and vital for strategies and action plans. This kind of session is based on the assumption that all Canadians should have an equal opportunity to access assets wealth. The process will summarize the many items that we cherish and that are positive for the community.

Illustrating the Asset Mapping process:

Download a Guide to Community Asset Mapping

Remembering the goals of Asset Mapping:

  • Get to know the assets within communities
  • Share an appreciation for the value of these assets
  • Understand what supports and threatens them.
  • Plan how the groups can sustain and build upon the collective values of these community assets.

For more information on asset mapping please visit the Canadian Rural Secretariat Website.