Article written by Susan Jakesa, 2010 DPDF After Secularization: New Approaches to Religion and Modernity fellow Annie Hardison-Moody, Sarah Bowen, & John Blevins, featured in Community Development, Volume 46, No. 4:
Asset mapping has emerged as a promising tool for mobilizing and sustaining positive changes related to community health and wellbeing. In contrast to approaches that focus on communities’ needs or deficits, asset mapping harnesses community resources in order to foster transformation and growth. In this article, the authors analyze asset mapping workshops, which focused on access to food and safe places to be active, that were conducted in two North Carolina (USA) study communities. The authors highlight the results of the workshops and show how they demonstrate the underlying values expressed by participants. Community members differ in what they value within existing community structures and what their priorities are in determining the direction of future efforts. This article argues that an understanding of why organizations are named as exemplary in their improvement of access to healthy foods or places to be active allows community members and leaders to connect assets in ways that are rooted in community values and the realities of existing community and social structures.