Dana Moore & Anna Pederson
November 10, 2009
“all the historic evidence indicates that significant community
development only takes place when local community people are
committed to investing themselves and their resources in the effort.”
Asset maps are not always geographical
Neighborhood Needs Map Neighborhood Asset Map
McKnight & Kretzmann,
“Mapping Community Capacity”, 1996
Needs vs. Assets
Traditional Path 1 Alternative Path 2
Based on: Needs Assets
Goal: Institutional Change Building Communities
Conversation: Problems & Concerns Gifts and Dreams
Change Agent: Power Relationships
View of Consumer, Client Producer, Owner
Needs = Community Problems: Assets = Community “Treasures”:
Unemployment, gangs, truancy, Youth, elderly, artists, churches,
broken families, housing schools, businesses, parks,
shortage, crime, child abuse, libraries, cultural groups,
illiteracy, welfare, lead poisoning, community colleges, clubs,
dropouts, etc. hospitals, farms, ranches, etc.
Allen, et al. “Vitalizing Communities: Building on Assets and Mobilizing for Collective Action” 1999
Step 1: Reality check
An asset map is just the beginning of the process.
Before starting with the asset map, be sure that your
community is ready and willing to:
1. Participate in the asset mapping process by volunteering
time and information
2. Participate in the planning once the information is available
3. Change based on the plans that have been made
An asset map with no tangible results will frustrate future
Types of community assets
“not all community assets are equally available for community-building purposes.”
•Located in the neighborhood and controlled by those who live in the neighborhood.
•Individual capacities (including income)
•Include “labeled people”: “retarded, mentally ill, disabled, elderly, etc."
•Existing and potential leaders
•Located in the neighborhood but controlled elsewhere.
•Located outside the neighborhood and controlled by those outside the neighborhood.
Types of institutions KEEPRA
Kinship (Family) Economic Education Political (Government) Religious Associations
Asset Mapping works through building relationships
and connecting people => also want to find existing
• Ask businesses about their purchasing and hiring
• Ask others (individuals, organizations) about their
purchasing patterns as well
How to find the assets?
1. Collect asset information:
• Individual Assets- Volunteers, e.g. students from school, collect,
• Associational Assets- Table of people take first cut at identifying these
o Table of people = group representative of community that basically serves as a steering
committee for asset mapping effort
• Institutional Assets- Table of people take lead
• Economic Assets- Local bankers and business leaders take first cut at
• Natural Resources- Identify residents to start asset inventory process
2. Publicize- Place asset lists in public places through out community
3. Call “Town Hall Meeting”
4. Citizens add to assets
• Organize around asset sets to create new opportunities and maintain
positive aspects of community Allen, “Community Asset
Mapping & Mobilizing
5. Community citizens are mobilized to take action Communities”, 2005.
Example survey forms available from:
McKnight/Kretzmann, Allen/Cordes/Hart, Allen (2005). Beaulieu
suggests an additional Community Participation & Leadership
Question: The introductory script for use people collecting
resource information from people for the asset map proposed in
the McKnight & Kretzmann article includes that the information
would be kept confidential. How would you be able to keep
information confidential and still mobilize resources?
Hello. I’m _________________________ with the _____________. We’re
talking to local people about what skills they have. With this information,
we hope to help people start businesses. I’d like to ask you some
questions about your skills and where you have used them. Your
participation is voluntary, and the information is confidential.
What to do with this information?
Step 1: Map The Assets
Step 2: Build Relationships and Broaden the Local Leadership
• Find/create organizations to act as "Asset Development Organizations”
• Locate the capacity finders, community developers, and “strangers”; make sure all
• Create skills banks, learning exchanges => personal connections & talent pools
Step 3: Mobilize for Economic Development
• How can the community produce internally what has been produced externally,
export goods and services?
Step 4: Convene the Community and Develop a Vision for the Future
• Use previous efforts, needs assessments, etc. to inform the vision and strategy
Step 5: Leverage Outside Resources to Support Local Priority Activities
• Work from a position of strength to develop partnerships and direct how outside
resources are used to support vision
Step 6: Evaluate Progress
Step 7: Celebrate Progress!!!
Example: South Sacramento
Started with visioning
Then mapped assets with vision in mind
• Did not attempt to map individuals’ assets
Then workgroups developed workplans to use resources to
make positive changes, e.g. relationships between:
• Different cultural groups within neighborhood twith little
• Residents, businesses, and police
• Businesses, community groups and schools
Commitment to re-assessing and re-visioning
Example: Envision Flemington
Designed to help residents “envision”
Use of a map to collect comments, pictures, and/or video clips
from residents about:
Example: Re-constructing the urban landscape
through community mapping
by Frances Fahy and Michael O Cinneide
Article discusses the use of asset mapping for sustainable
development in Galway, Ireland
Other tools for use: ecological footprinting, visioning,
environmental impact assessment, best practices, and
Community asset mapping
Google Earth helped bring “mapping to the masses”
Community asset maps are “locally produced visual
depictions of an area that record and promote social,
environmental, and cultural resources” - shows what
people value in their community
Allows a community to identify and record elements that
Helps citizens develop a sense of identity with their
Green maps are locally produced charts that identify,
promote and link elements of the natural and cultural
elements of a community
Highlight green areas, bicycle paths, green businesses,
and organic markets
Galway City Project
Initiated by the Galway City Council to progress
sustainable development policies at a local level
Used to: identify particular needs within communities and
broader city jurisdictions, create benchmarks for local
communities and municipal authorities to identify
sustainable development targets and monitor the progress
of the targets
Community mapping allows participation from community
Important for the project to represent cultural diversity and
include marginalized groups
Galway has been working on sustainable development
since 2000, created the Galway City Development Board
Previous to community mapping project, Galway City
participated in a evaluation project with the National
University of Ireland and the Irish EPA
The project aim was to investigate perceptions of quality of
life in Galway
Results found that city government does not communicate
sustainable development issues within municipal groups
and to citizens
Project Method and Findings
Community mapping was suggested as one way to fix the
Project was started by holding workshops throughout the
city within various socio-economic groups
Elements identified: walking and bicycling routes, recycling
centers, organic markets and churches
The results of the workshops were turned into a map by
local university researchers and put on display on city
The map was continuously updated based on suggestions
Project created a two-way dialogue between local
communities and municipal authorities
The government created a high level of publicity for the
map – showed that the government valued citizen imput
Key features of the process include sharing lived
experiences, raising awareness and increasing knowledge
about local areas
Increased community participation in creation of new
Improved dialogue and trust between the city and citizens
Green Mapping Resources
Green Map System, Inc.: http://www.greenmap.org/
Greenopolis (social networking site):
Natural Connections: http://www.greenmapping.org/
Wikipedia – Green Map:
Green Mapping for Eco-Justice in Harlem:
Now for a local example…
Engaging and Empowering Youth – Identifying and
mapping opportunities for youth in CU:
Allen, J. C., Cordes, S. M., & Hart, J. G. (2004). “Vitalizing Communities”: Building on Assets and Mobilizing
for Collective Action: Facilitator Guide. http://www.nlc.state.ne.us/epubs/U2031/H003-2004.pdf, accessed
10/31/09. Great how-to, but a bit long.
Allen, J. C. (2005). Community Asset Mapping and Mobilizing Communities.
http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/pub__2880457.pdf, accessed 11/01/09. Many forms for
asset mapping, including filled out examples.
Beaulieu, L. J. (2002). Mapping the assets of your community: A key component for building local capacity.
http://srdc.msstate.edu/publications/227/227_asset_mapping.pdf, accessed 10/31/09.
Envision Flemington. http://www.mappler.com/flemingtonvision, accessed 11/08/09. Example of online
interactive community mapping.
Fahy, F., Cinnéide, M. Re-constructing the urban landscape through community mapping: an attractive
prospect for sustainability? Area (2009) 41:2, 167-175.
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bpl/area/2009/00000041/00000002/art00006, accessed 11/01/09.
McKnight, J. L., Kretzmann, J. P. (1992). Mapping Community Capacity.
http://www.northwestern.edu/ipr/publications/papers/mcc.pdf, accessed 10/24/09. How-to by the people who
developed asset mapping.
Sacramento ENRICHES (Engaging Neighborhood Resources to Improve Children’s Health, Education and
Safety) & Shapiro Consulting. (2005). South Sacramento Community Initiative Asset-Based Community Plan.
http://www.msa2.saccounty.net/dns/CSASouth/SouthSac/Documents/ABCDPlan.pdf, accessed 11/08/09.
Example of visioning + asset mapping.
Sustainable Jersey. Community Asset Mapping. http://www.sustainablejersey.com/editor/doc/act11tb1sa1.pdf,
accessed 10/31/09. Includes list of several “green” mapping activities.