2. Community Assets

This section will help you learn to recognize the assets in your community. 

After completing this section, you will be able to...

  • Describe asset-based community development
  • Recognize the assets in your community

“Every living person has some gift or capacity of value to others. A strong community is a place that recognizes those gifts and ensures that they are given. A weak community is a place where lots of people can’t give their gifts and express their capacities.”

— John Kretzman & John McKnight1

Community asset mapping is based on the asset-based approach to community development—the “glass half-full” perspective that focuses on the resources and capacities that already exist in any community. This approach teaches that every member of a community has a “gift” that they can share with others.2 Their “gifts” could be expertise, resources, or time. The key is to build connections between and among different types of assets—individuals, associations, and institutions—so their gifts can be put to use to better the community. Finding the unique gifts available in your community can lead to unexpected but beneficial collaborations and projects.


1: Building communities from the inside out: A path toward finding and mobilizing a community’s assets, pg. 27. By John Kretzmann and John McKnight, 1993. Chicago, IL: ACTA Publications.

2: What is asset based community development? Collaborative For Neighborhood Transformation/ABCD Institute, 2016.