“Community needs to be at the center of our thinking, no matter what results we are trying to achieve in the world.”
Above is a quote by Peter Block and John McKnight, co-authors of Building Communities From the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets. The two are prominent proponents of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), or a community development strategy for relationship building between institutions, services, and people in a community. According to Block and McKnight, ABCD mapping can transform a neighborhood into a powerful, connected, and successful community. Interested in learning more? Read on!
What is Asset Mapping?
Asset Mapping, or ABCD Mapping, is an exercise in community development in which you draw a map of what is valuable in your community. It is a way to work toward empowering residents to take an active role in their community, and the best place to start is by identifying and taking advantage of what your community has to offer, or, its assets.
What are “Assets”?
Assets are more than what you can physically see around you. When drawing an asset map, you’ll want to consider six types of assets in your community:
- The gifts, talents, and skills of the residents
- Your network of relationships, connected gifts or, “associations”
- Institutions and professional entities
- Physical assets, such as land, property, buildings, and equipment
- Economic assets, such as the productive work of individuals, consumer spending power, and local businesses
- The culture and stories of your community
Sample Community Assets Map: View full image in browser
How can you use your Assets Map?
Once you know what specific assets your community has to offer, it makes it easier to look at community development with a “glass half full” approach. You can see it laid out in front of you – every person has a gift to contribute, and knowing about those gifts can foster connections between community members and encourage community learning and knowledge-sharing.
An Assets Map also helps you to understand your community’s “capacity,” or your inventory of skills and resources. Drawing upon your current strengths, you will be better equipped to create a vision and/or a plan for your community’s sustainable development solutions.
Taking the first step toward building your abundant community involves knowing and caring about the place where you live. ABCD Mapping is a quick win – the map will give you everything positive to focus on and will provide a strong stepping stone toward successful community development. Start creating your map, and use the data to strengthen your community!