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Web Resources on Community Asset Mapping

and Related Community Mobilizing Programs


Compiled by Sandy Gill, formerly of Northwest Regional Facilitators

April, 2001; Updated 2004

Hopefully this collection will be the beginning of building a set of resources for you to use as you explore ways to involve your community in building its future. You’ll find a mixture of examples, approaches and techniques that people are using across the nation (and in other countries as well). As you continue to use these (as we do), you’ll find them to be fluid sites that change as the group learns and adapts what they do. Enjoy.

IPR Research: Asset-Based Community Development Institute

IPR has a range of resource options to explore. They also host a sub-site about The Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD). It describes this program and includes a list of publications such as the Capacity Inventory that you can copy and use.


Approaches and Examples


Community Building Resources, Community Development, Asset Mapping

These folks are a small 5-year-old business based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and practice the philosophy of Asset-based Community Building. They say they work with both urban and rural communities. This site:

  • Lists the ways they apply this approach including community research and workshops on the technique.

  • Features a resources section where you can print off summaries of some of their reports or order publications that have more detail. Two examples follow.

  • Contains a "Listen and Learn" piece where they did following with their "community partners" to see what was happening. The summaries of what they found out are on their site.

  • Has a summary of the model they use


Here are two examples of what communities did with this approach.


Stratford Capacity Study Summary Results

This summary describes a Canadian effort about this town on Prince Edward Island. In 1996 they surveyed people, organizations, and businesses, and share their results. There’s also a contact person. And you can look at their asset map.


Discovering the SPICE of Whitecourt

This group from Whitecourt, a community in Alberta, Canada also brought together people, organizations, and businesses using the S.P.I.C.E. aspects of life approach. It also included an asset map that didn’t print off very well but did illustrate how they presented what they came up with.


Neighborhood Assets

The folks in Longmont Colorado created a Neighborhood Asset Building Kit in preparation for Y2K through their Neighborhood Resources program. The current contact isn’t familiar with this document. However, they have a Handbook for Better Neighborhoods. Though clearly geared to a city environment, you may get some ideas from it. 


My most recent contact is:



Maine Time Dollar Network

A project where a resident and trade a unit of skill that s/he has for another skill s/he doesn’t have. They call the program an exchange of "service" credits among neighbors and friends. They give examples and the demographics for what’s occurred in their community.


Another contact is ROSE Community Development Program in Portland, Oregon. They have a program that is called Time Traders. Their address is 7211 SE 62nd, Portland, OR 97266 The telephone number is (503) 788-8052.


Connecticut Assets Network (CAN)

CAN is a grassroots nonprofit network of citizens and organizations that promote the integration and successful use of asset-based strategies for community development. The "asset approach" uses the resources and assets of individuals, organizations and communities as the building blocks of successful health promotion strategies. They describe their partnership approach:


They also house a library that includes listings of key internet sites relevant to asset-based community development, AV materials, books, journals, and Library Reading Room of the Connecticut Assets Network contains Adobe Acrobat files that cover a variety of topics including asset building tools, presentation materials, research and stories.


Community Access Program

Canada conducted an ambitious effort over the last 2-3 years to create community access locations throughout Canada. On this site you can find documentation about what they did and what’s involved to get connected to an effort like this.


Neighborhood Works Net

Information about the national network of Neighborhood Works organizations who form local partnerships among residents, business leaders, and local government officials. The resources page provides publications, web site links and searchable databases.


Resources with Ideas, Techniques and Philosophies

Evaluation Workshop: Asset Building Community Development

A description of a publication titled, A Guide to Evaluating Asset-Based Community Development: Lessons, Challenges, and Opportunities by Thomas Dewar, 1997. The Institute for Policy Research (IPR) hosts this site. U.S. Prices (including shipping and handling): $9.00 per book. Canada: add $3 per book (for shipping and handling).

TO ORDER: Exclusive distributor: ACTA Publications; 4848 North Clark Street; Chicago, IL 60640; Phone: 1-800-397-2282 or 773-271-1030


Rural Community Tool Box

This is a section of the Rural Enterprise Zone/ Enterprise Community web site, which highlights the 4 key concepts behind what they are trying to do. While many of their links are the same as in other rural web sites, there are some new ones being added all the time.


Check out the "What’s New" section to find out what new contacts they’ve made.

Since several NW communities have been designated as Rural Enterprise Community, their efforts may serve as a resource for what other rural communities are doing. The section of the site below lists all the communities and gives a report on their activities.

Enterprise communities with home pages can be found on this section:




Rural Specialists


Western Rural Development Center (WRDC)

The purpose of this group is to strengthen rural families, communities, and businesses by facilitating rural development research and extension (outreach) projects cooperatively with universities and communities. Their programs may provide some potential assistance to your region.

They provide an online publication called "The Western by Design Resource Toolkit," an assessment and planning tool for small communities. See Publications for more information on this and other publications they offer.


Center for Applied Rural Innovation

Based at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this group focuses on strengthening Nebraska communities. While most of the site is either research oriented or tied with specific projects they do, some of their projects might be ideas that can be adapted to fit other purposes. For example, the Rural Voices project. A slide presentation and paper presented in Australia in 2000 gives another view of their approach. You might get ideas about contacts or projects from this presentation.


Leadership Development

The Heartland Center for Leadership Development

This group strives to develop local leadership that responds to the challenges of the future. One of their major activities is practical resources and public policies for rural community survival. They have online access to learning opportunities and other programs that serve rural communities. The publication list also looks really useful – community assessments, survival strategies, leadership development, etc.


The Citizens Handbook

Vancouver BC, Canada created a Guide to Building Community in Vancouver. Though written for a large city there are sections that may give ideas to smaller communities. There’s some basic stuff about Community Organizing and some of the activities that currently exist in Vancouver that help folks build a sense of community. Some may be adapted to smaller communities.


Community Tool Box

Based out of the University of Kansas, this site provides an on-site manual of ideas for building healthy communities. While it’s a pretty structured approach, you can scan the chapters to find ideas that may apply to your efforts. For example, there’s a Troubleshooting guide for common challenges that can occur while creating community change efforts.


Interesting Sites that may trigger some ideas

Center for Social Development, Washington University in St. Louis

Asset Building and Community Development are areas of interest for this academic program. They have an International focus that features programs such as matched savings accounts for low-income families. Abstracts from presentations at the Inclusion in Asset Building: Research and Policy Symposium in September, 2000

Social Compact

An interesting concept…Social Compact promotes successful business investment in undervalued communities for the benefit of current residents. Though this group says they work with Inner-city Neighborhoods, the concept may have potential in smaller towns. Also the list of partners that make up social compact may give you idea for sources of support who believe in strengthening neighborhoods.

On part of an earlier edition their web site that I found interesting was the list of winners of their award process. Though the current web site doesn’t have this feature, looking over this list may give you other ideas for folks who might be good contacts for you.


Redefining Progress

A public policy organization whose aim is sustainable development. Though much of their site is pretty academic, some of the concepts might be useful. For example, the "Compendium of SD (Sustainable Development) Indicator Initiatives has an interesting graphic that shows Selected Examples of Indicators such as Economic, Environmental and Social.

There’s also a Community Indicators Projects Directory a database directory that includes over 150 community indicator projects from around the United States, including several local, international projects.

One tool featured is a way to determine your ecological footprint by answering 13 easy questions. This has evolved since 2001.  New versions and similar tools are available under the tabs for Projects and Programs.


Telling Stories: Building Community by Improving Communication

This is an approach more than a "toolbox" resource. The concept is that the stories we tell and the ways we tell them have a lot to do with life in a community. The main report is the result of research done in the Puget Sound area, but the lessons drawn from this project have applications in other regions. There may be some ideas you can draw from.


Potential Contacts to exchange ideas with

Most of these sites have contact names within the site description listed above or within the web site itself. There are also a few we’ve added to the collection when we found a name that seemed to be knowledgeable or have experience in one of the areas. Since there’s a diversity of ideas, each person may be able to give a view on their experience wit what they’ve been doing.

Community Currency

Edgar Cahn, Time Dollars Institute, Box 42160, Washington DC 20015, (202)537-5033, ,

Diana McCourt, Womanshare, 680 West End Ave., New York, NY 10025, (212)662-9746,

Local Employment & Trading Systems (LETS) Contact: Michael Linton, Landsman Associates, 479 - 4th St., Courtenay, BC V9N 1G9, CANADA, (604) 338-0213;;

Susan Witt, E.F. Schumacher Society, 140 Jug End Road, Great Barrington MA 01230, (413) 528-1737,,

These came from a feature report on community currencies and trading systems by Tim Cohen-Mitchell in the issue #2 of New Village Journal.

Inspiring the Entrepreneur

SNAP in Spokane has an interesting program that might be worth looking at:

You might have heard about a program operated by Ray Lancaster called the Microenterprise Development program. SNAP has developed a program to help "would-be entrepreneurs learn how to take an idea into a business plan. While this is an urban program, a rural community may be able to adapt the concept.

(509) 456-7111 Ext 227 Fax (509) 534-5874

Compiled & Updated by:

Sandy Gill
Northwest Nonprofit Resources
PO Box 9066
Spokane, WA 99209
April, 2001; 2004


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Last modified: 07/12/08