Six Levels of Asset Mapping

user image 2019-04-04
By: Dee Brooks
Posted in: Reflections and Ideas

Originally posted on the Jeder Institute

For more than 10 years now I have been blending over 20 years of Asset-based Community Development (ABCD) experience with Art of Hosting (AoH) practices. Between the borders and boundaries of effective mapping, there are multiple spaces where AoH practices either underpin (4 Fold Practice) or can overlay (Designing for Wiser Action) the practice of ABCD in a multitude of ways!

Some people think asset mapping can create a dependence on tools and strategies and others who intentionally apply asset mapping for capacity building and peer learning know the power of mapping; it's all about intention!

Over the years, we at the Jeder Institute, have adapted (from others) and developed (our own) practical and emergent ways of discovering assets, both active and latent, in community to support community-led mobilisation for change. This is based on 20 years of practical application of ABCD and a vast array of other blended methodologies (including their tools and strategies) and has resulted in a robust set of resources, strategies and tools to build the individual capacity of change makers in community.

The following example is from work undertaken in Jakarta, Indonesia, based on the topic of childcare reform and provides an update on our previous blog Connect! Don’t Collect! : The Art of Community Mapping

The agenda/flow that was co-created by the Design Team was based on an Asset Mapping framework which spiralled inwards and has the ability to spiral back outwards, as required. Firstly, participants would be invited to create a visual map of the elements within the childcare system in Jakarta to highlight the enormity of the challenge. Following this, we would start to break down the system and look at what was “do-able”. The participants would then map their partners/stakeholders to explore who was already in their known system and who was not.

Next would be to map the resources, networks, assets and strengths of the organisation they were representing, considering how these could strengthen what was already happening, or emerging, in community and in addition, they would map what was known and unknown in the community, relating to childcare.

The final mapping step, as participants moved inwards in the mapping framework spiral, was to map individual gifts, strengths and assets. This linked back to the previous October 2018 Learning Conversations and also highlighted that each person has skills, talents, abilities and passions to respond back outwards within the mapping framework spiral.

Here, we asked the question, “What skills, abilities, resources, networks and partners do you have to respond to the challenges of child care in Indonesia?” and in the final large scale mapping process, participants took all their responses from the first day and created action maps on the second day.

The 6 levels of mapping within this process were as follows and each level has a range of tools to suit the context, individuals and community vision:

  • Individual; skills and abilities
  • Community; resources and connections
  • Organisational; opportunities and resources
  • Partners / Stakeholders; know / don’t know
  • Systems; elemental, agents, components
  • Ecological; land / humans / other creatures


These levels of mapping link strongly to the 6 assets, as identified by ABCD:

  • Individual assets (e.g. the skills, talents, abilities and passions of community members)
  • Local community groups and networks (e.g. social services clubs, mums & bubs groups, sporting clubs etc)
  • Local government and non-government agencies (e.g. churches, schools, departments, neighbourhood centres etc)
  • Physical assets (natural and built environment)
  • Economic assets (productive work of individuals, consumer spending power, local businesses)
  • Cultural assets (local stories, heritage, identity, values)

 In the case of the above-mentioned Indonesian work, this created seven (7) active and actionable maps for change.  This provides a process for “leading by stepping back” that is easily replicable, teachable and shareable across communities, particularly due to inviting a local core team. In this way, the process becomes uniquely place-based, community-led and can be a great way to connect, share and have fun!

To discover more about the range of potentials tools and strategies within the levels of mapping, see our website for more information on Participatory Community Building workshops:


Dee Brooks
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