Asset-based Community Development- Community Asset Mapping

Carl DiSalvo
Carl DiSalvo
SLS FEWS Fellow
Associate Professor, School of Literature, Media and Communication Co-Director, SLS Fellows Programs

How would you define this BIG IDEA?

Mapping is the process of creating spatial —usually geographic — representations of data. We all know what maps are, and we often make our own informal maps. Mapping and map-making can be a value tool for discovery and documentation. Even though we are (hopefully) no longer the colonial explorers of the past, when we work with a new community or on a new issue, it is often valuable to create a map of community or the issue. It’s worth noting that although mapmaking is usually considered a professional endeavor, there is a strong tradition of set of practices around participatory mapping.

How does this BIG IDEA about sustainable communities play out in your work?

The value of mapping to sustainable communities is that is provides a familiar and concrete form to present meaningful data and orient stakeholders in regards to an issue. It can also be a process undertaken collaboratively with a community — thereby becoming a shared, collective artifact. In Asset Based Community Development, maps are commonly used to collect and present assets.

Learn more:

Making Maps: a blog of DIY cartography

An overview of participatory mapping for public engagement

How to make a map with MapBox (one of many many mapping tools)

Mapping Community Assets Workbook