From the abstract to Mapping the Assets of Your Community: A Key Component for Building Local Capacity , by Lionel J. Beaulieu, Southern Rural Development Center:
Asset mapping is an effective tool for understanding the wealth of talent and resources that exists in each community–even those with small populations or suffering from poverty and economic distress. The long-term development of a community rests on its ability to uncover and build on the strengths and assets of its people, institutions, and informal organizations.
View Oakland Resource Map in a larger map
[This is an example of an asset map using Google Maps. I found a user-generated map, put together in 2009 by someone identified only as Meghan, then added more resources, mainly in West Oakland. Took me about 30 minutes. - Leo]
Five steps are presented for applying the asset mapping model. The beginning point involves an effort to map the community’s assets, including the talents of local residents and emerging leaders (pdf), local institutions (pdf), informal community and neighborhood organizations (pdf), and existing community leaders (pdf) who are committed to building a more vibrant community.
Next, relationships should be built between residents, institutions, and informal groups. This involves providing opportunities for emerging leaders to have an active voice in long-term economic development strategies for the community.
Step 3 involves mobilizing these identified resources for economic development.
Step 4 is convening the community to develop a shared vision for the future. This requires active discussions, debates, and disagreements that identify which priority issues need to be dealt with first.
Finally, outside resources that can support local priority activities should be located. Communities that have local partnerships firmly established can ensure that outside resources are used to support the community’s priorities.
[A 36-slide PowerPoint presentation that accompanies this workbook is available for download here]