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Creating an Inventory of Assets in Your Community: Asset Mapping

Full resource: Asset Mapping: A Handbook
Date published: 2001
Source: Orton Family Foundation
Authors: Tony Fuller, Denyse Guy, Carolyn Pletsch

The focus of this handbook is community asset mapping, a critical element of community development, as it engages of people in the shaping of their community. In the rural context, assets are popularly recognized attributes of communities.They are considered essential for the maintenance of rural life and vital for the sustainability of the economy, society and environment.

The Handbook came out of a 2002 Canadian National Rural Conference that focused specifically on Community Capacity Building. It guides users through a positive, simple and enjoyable approach, and focuses on three methods: the Whole Assets Approach, the Storytelling Approach, and the Heritage Approach. Each method is clearly explained, and supported by an inventory of materials and human resources, along with step-by-step facilitator notes.

While this technique can be used in organizations as well as in communities, the handbook focuses on community approaches which help create a shared vision by envisioning a ‘common cause’. It is also practical and realistic - starting with what you have, rather than with what you don’t have.

After using the guide, users will have developed an inventory of their community strengths, a ranking of the most valued aspects of their community, and an understanding of  the reasons why people place high value on various assets in their community. From this point strategies can be developed to build on the assets in order to sustain and enhance them for future generations to enjoy.

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