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Creating Community Maps

To Build Collaborative Learning Communities.

Assessing community assets to support resilient community development.

Meaningful Livelihoods

“considering goods as more important than people and consumption as more important than creative activity is ridiculous.”

― E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful

To talk about the future is useful only if it leads to action now

― E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful

…ideas are the most powerful things on earth…

― E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful

“Communities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

― Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Not TV or illegal drugs but the automobile has been the chief destroyer of North American communities

― Jane Jacobs, Dark Ages Ahead

There is no logic that can be superimposed on our community; people make it, and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans!

― Jane Jacobs
Our Environment, Our Place

“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers....It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”

David Orr, Educator

Cornerstones of a Resilient & Sustainable Community

All around us, in the communities we inhabit, we are surrounded by a rich abundance, within which, lies the seeds of prosperity that may be underdeveloped or lying dormant. If we continue to allow this abundance to go unnoticed, we are living with an untapped, unrealized potential. Community mapping can help bring us together to work collaboratively and discover the assets within our communities and in doing so help us gain a deeper appreciation for their value. By gaining a fuller perspective on our assets we can then move forward in connecting various pieces together, working towards opportunities that make sense, and creating synergies that lead to greater quality of life for all of us.

Community mapping can also help us to face challenges and respond to change that all individuals and communities must deal with -- be they environmental, economic, cultural or social. How we prepare for and respond to these challenges is often as important as the solution that is implemented. Resilient communities recognize the importance of addressing issues of sustainability, inclusion, social justice and equity as they strive to create solutions. Below are ten key components that serve as cornerstones, critical to providing prosperity and a strong foundation to every community.

Click here to download a copy of a proposed suite of community assets and indicators by key topic areas that may be desirable for your community. These assets and indicators have been assembled as a starting point to help initiate dialog and act as a scorecard to evaluate the strength of each cornerstone underlying the community in which you live. As each community is distinct and has a character all of its own, the mix of assets and appropriate indicators will vary accordingly.

Fostering Lifelong Learning

Learning communities devote energy to discover & rediscover their place and how to honour it. A central purpose is to devise ways of bringing learning and people together, in order to develop the social and economic fabric of the community.

Wellbeing, Active Living & Healthy Communities

Extending beyond the traditional definition of health, wellness focuses on achieving physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being. Walking is the best way to help acheive wellness and improve our quality of life by connecting us with others, enhancing positive moods, relieving stress, aiding sleep & improving cognitive performance. Promote wellness by designing walkable communities and promote walking.

Social Capital, Cohesion; Groups & Gathering Places

Our stock of social capital – the glue that binds us together, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives & communities. We need to reconnect with family, friends, neighbours, and our democratic structures. Develop social spaces that draw people together, enhancing social cohesion.


Civic Engagement, Inclusion, Sharing & Caring

Communities can draw upon social capital and civic engagement to provide a myriad of supports that enhance social safety nets and drive community building via a philosophy of sharing & caring. Through democratic participation in community building we can reduce inequality & create inclusive societies.

Cultivating a Culturally Vibrant Community

Cultural planning is essential to the development of a vibrant, innovative and prosperous community. We need to capture and learn the stories of our place that shape our identity while celebrating our rich and diverse natural & cultural heritage. Through festivals, events and venues it is fundamentally important to support our creativity industries and developing a greater appreciation for, and participation in the arts.

Fostering a Local Food Movement

Envision a just and vibrant local food system that creates economic opportunties, nurtures a healthy food culture, celebrates diversity and ensures that nutritious food is accessible to everyone.

Shelter for Everyone

Promote a wildly diverse mix of alternative housing types and living arrangements, support affordable housing & social housing. Promote green building techniques and site planning to develop appropriate shelter for a post carbon future.

Meaningful Work & Community Economic Development

Increase the diversity of local economies and the degree of local ownership that equitably distributes the benefits and the duties.Promote reinvestment in the local community.

EcoLogic Community Design for Livability

Mix land-uses, increase density and create walkable communities that provides access to transit. Create an ecological infrastructure based on living systems that protects water, & reduces waste, materials & energy.

Energy Security

Seek energy security by generating energy via distributed renewable sources. Through good design, conservation and careful use meet fundamental needs and provide the same level of service with two to ten times less resource use.


Working together to map our place, tell our stories and find creative ways to enhance the adaptive capacity of our communities to achieve resilience.

Heritage Advocate

Inventorying & Celebrating Our Built Heritage
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Ben Adamson

Mapping Participant


Promotes Participatory GIS in the Civic Engagment Movement
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Ed Symons

Geomatics Instructor, COGS/NSCC

Social Activist

Helping to Build a Sustainable Community Food System
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John Phillips

Mapping Participant

Community Maps

Asset Based Community Development and Sustainability Indicators to foster resilient communities!

Community Assets


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  • Identifies community assets and strengths
  • Mobilizes individual and community assets, skills and passions
  • Community driven – ‘building communities from the inside out’
  • It is relationship driven.

Sustainability Indicators

That help foster Resilience

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  • Foster flexibility and redundancy to ensure systems functions
  • Build local & regional self reliance
  • Empower individuals & communities to control their well-being
  • Create diverse & accessible forms of livelihoods & local wealth ownership
  • Forge valued trusting partnership amongst a flexible network of people
  • Facilitate continuous learning, adaptation, knowledge sharing & innovation