Hyde Jackson Square Main Street launched our Community Assets Mapping Project at our March 8, 2016 Annual Meeting. This is a 12-month project which will inform us and the neighborhood of the strengths of our community. Important about this project is that this is not about our “needs” but about our “strengths”. We have been planning this project for over 10 months.
What is a Community Assets Map?
An assets map is an inventory of the strengths, gifts, and other positive features of a community, where they are located, and the connections between them.
Why map a community’s assets?
It is a way of understanding what a community already has going for it so that efforts for improvement can be made by building on the community’s existing strengths, rather than focusing on weaknesses or on what is missing.
What is a community asset?
-A person (firefighter, volunteer, community member of influence)
-A physical structure (school, landmark, symbol)
-An open space (sidewalk, park, plaza)
-A gathering place (church, bench, coffee shop, street corner)
-A story and history of a place
-A community service or activity
To gather information, we are planning private information-gathering meetings with important individuals and community organizations, quick surveys of residents and visitors, a couple of large community meetings, and the gathering of economic data and history.
The results of our report will be completed by March 2017 and we’ll report to the community our findings at our 2017 Annual Meeting. This project is not merely marketing the neighborhood but in keeping with our mission of creating a safe, visually vibrant, economically sound business district in Hyde & Jackson Squares and our process of doing this via the Main Street Approach (http://www.preservationnation.org/main-street/about-main-street/the-approach) we will focus on Design (visual assets: buildings, historic sites, parks), Promotion (events, marketing, branding, how do all people refer to this neighborhood?), Economic Development (retailers/restaurants, business savvy entrepreneurs and their skills, clusters of commerce), and Organization (people-assets, stories, history, organizations, data). We are currently developing the data gathering and analysis tools now.
Hyde Jackson Square Main Street is a community nonprofit and we rely on the work of volunteers. What better way to undertake a community asset-mapping project than by spearheading it by volunteers?
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at 617-522-3694 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.