Community Asset Mapping

Carl DiSalvo
Carl DiSalvo
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 is this big idea applied to sustainable communities?

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