Community Mapping


Community Mapping

The purpose of community mapping is to identify the assets and amenities of a community, so as to create a picture of what life is like there. 

Community mapping is a tool that is commonly used in Community Inclusion, Community Engagement, and Supported Employment. Because maps are visual and easy to comprehend, they serve as an effective and valuable method of identification. Like photos and videos, they cut through communication difficulties to reveal feelings and ideas which otherwise might be hard to express.

A person can also use community mapping to make decisions about where they go and what they do in their community. Without knowing what is available, it is difficult for a person to advocate for themselves, engage in activities they enjoy and make friends with like-minded individuals.

Exploring your community

Whether or not you are familiar with community mapping, it is an easy concept to understand. Rather than looking at your community and saying, I have done everything my community has to offer, look at it from a much closer perspective. Picture yourself walking out your front door. What places do you see? Now, imagine yourself turning in a full circle very slowly. Notice anything different? Maybe a hill you’ve never walked up or a neighborhood you’ve never thought to explore. That is what community mapping is all about! Noticing places and things you weren’t aware of before. If you take the time to look closely, there are always exciting things to see and do!

Types of assets

There are three types of assets that we look for when creating a community map: individual, community, and institutional. Individual assets are activities done individually. These may include going for a walk or a bike ride, painting, knitting, or blogging. Community assets are activities done as a group, such as playing on a team, taking a college class, or joining a club or social group. Institutional assets are infrastructures in the community. These include temples, churches, libraries, schools, pubs, and restaurants.

Creating your map

For this exercise, start by drawing your house and move outwards. There are several ways to do this. You can walk or drive, take pictures or draw on your map as you go, or use Google Maps and browse from a satellite view or street view. Illustrate the different assets and amenities as you go. Remember, you are only labeling what you want to do in your community, not everything you see. If you finish your map and don’t have enough assets, then go for another walk or drive.

You can even take your mapping one step further and research the places and activities as you move along. For example, if you mark on the map that the local community center is an asset, on the back of your map, write down when it is open and what activities are available. When you are done, you will have a beautiful picture of the community in which you live.



The Community Mapping Toolkit


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