“Asset mapping” is an important component of “asset-based development,” an approach to community development that seeks to build on a community’s existing resources – rather than focus on its needs – as a means to achieving development goals. Asset mapping refers to a variety of methods that can be used by community members to identify community resources. The “asset-based development” approach was put forth by John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight in their book, Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets . Kretzmann and McKnight identify three types of resources/assets that should be explored in an asset mapping process (as summarized in the University of Missouri Extension publication “Asset Mapping” ):
- Individuals: These include the “gifts, skills, and capacities” of the individuals living in the community.
- “Citizen associations”: These are the associations through which local people come together to pursue common goals.
- Institutions: These are the institutions present in the community, such as local government, hospitals, education, and human service agencies.
Lionel J. Beaulieu, of the Southern Rural Development Center, in the curriculum project called Mapping the Assets of Your Community: A Key Component for Building Local Capacity  seeks to extend the work of Kretzmann and McKnight in two important ways. First, the project offers a creative strategy for uncovering the pool of individuals who have the ingredients for taking on greater community leadership responsibilities. Second, the project discusses the role that community asset mapping can play in promoting the type of community development that is concerned with engaging local people in community enhancement efforts. In this material, a procedure for mapping the assets of a community is described. It is a process that can be used in any community and offers an effective strategy for involving a variety of people and organizations in helping bring about improvements in communities.
1. Kretzmann, John P. and McKnight, John L. 1993. Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets. ACTA Publications, Chicago, IL.; McKnight, John L. and Kretzmann John P. 1990, rev. 1996. Mapping Community Capacity. Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. http://www.abcdinstitute.org/docs/MappingCapacity.pdf
2. Asset Mapping. University of Missouri Extension. http://extension.missouri.edu/about/fy00-03/assetmapping.htm
3. Beaulieu, Lionel J. Southern Rural Development Center, Mapping the Assets of Your Community: A Key Component for Building Local Capacity. http://srdc.msstate.edu/trainings/educurricula/asset_mapping/