Asset Mapping 

Purpose 

Asset mapping provides information about the strengths and resources of a community and can help uncover solutions. Once community strengths and resources are inventoried and depicted in a map, you can more easily think about how to build on these assets to address community needs and improve health. Finally, asset mapping promotes community involvement, ownership, and empowerment. 

What is a community asset?

A community asset or resources is anything that improves the quality of community life. 
Assets include:
  • The capacities and abilities of community members.
  • A physical structure or place. For example, a school hospital, or church. Maybe a library, recreation center, or social club. 
  • A business that provides jobs and supports the local economy. 
  • Associations of citizens. For example, a Neighborhood Watch or a Parent Teacher Association. 
  • Local private, public, and nonprofit institutions or organizations. 

When to use Asset Mapping

  • You want to start a new local program and need information about available resources. 
    • Example:​
      • You are interested in teen mothers finishing their education. You could draw a community asset map that identifies school drop-out prevention, tutoring, and education counseling programs for young teen mothers. This helps you see what already exists, or if support services are lacking. You may find it necessary to develop a program to help young mothers finish their education. ​
  • You are making program decisions. An asset map can help you identify community assets and concerns. The map results help determine new directions for your program or identify new programs that need to be developed.
    • Example:​
      • An asset map of food banks and nutrition resources for low-income families in your neighborhood may reveal that there is a lack of programs, or that existing programs are located in areas that are not accessible to families in your service area. 
  • You want to mobilize and empower the community. If you involve different community members in constructing the asset map, the process itself can be an organizing tool.
    • Example:​
      • Mapping local public services and identifying the dollars spent per community member can mobilize residents to lobby city or county council members to improve local public services. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Asset Maps 

Advantages:
  • Builds on existing community assets
  • Mapping the inventory creates a visual depiction of existing and lacking assets
  • Data can be used to raise awareness about the availability of assets, develop or improve services and programs, or to apply for funding
  • Can generate a lot of community participation
Disadvantages:
  • Finding the right maps can be difficult, and mapping software can be expensive and difficult to use
  • Some community assets will be difficult to map if they don't have a physical location 
  • Needs community buy-in and collaboration to adequately inventory up-to-date community resources

Asset Based Community Development in Cottage Grove

"...considers local assets as the primary building blocks of sustainable community development. Building on the skills of local residents, the power of local associations, and the supportive functions of local institutions, asset-based community development draws upon existing strengths to build stronger, more sustainable communities for the future."
- The Asset-Based Community Development Institute 

Multi-Step Process 

Techniques such as surveys, site visits, and resident involvement are used commonly in ABCD and will used in this project by enabling us to find resources within both formal and informal networks.
 
This project will involve a multi-method design including qualitative listening groups to establish the key concerns of different segments of the community, followed by an online and paper submission of assets from key informants and residents, and concurrent interviews with key-informants and community leaders. The participatory process for the development of data collection instruments with the Collaborative Cottage Grove leaders will allow for identification of relevent items from the literature as well as obtaining input from members of the community on most important issues. This design provides the greatest validity and reliable  
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