Changing Minds and Hearts: Innovation in Asset Mapping

Asset mapping is not new. If you’re a sociologist, anthropologist, urban planner, or social scientist, you use some form of asset mapping to capture qualitative data. The application of asset mapping, in collaboration with indigenous leadership, can build the trust needed to produce new results. At Rivera Consulting, Inc. and NextShift, Inc., with the ongoing partnership from the MIT Co-Lab, we have co-developed an innovative asset mapping curriculum that combines best practices from the Bronx Community Development Initiative’s Economic Democracy Learning Center, popular education, social science, and participatory action research that supports social change agency, self-determination, sustainable community engagement and cross sector collaboration.  

As activist academics at Rivera Consulting Inc., asset mapping serves as an instrument for individual capacity building of a community to develop the collective agency, identifying and developing their community's assets and their own solutions. Our strategists serve the community through strategic planning, project discovery, development, and coaching to co-develop asset mapping tools that supports indigenous community leadership to co-develop and co-pursue their shared vision and tools. Even more important, it builds the physical and figurative space required for the cultivation of trust among people. If we want the work to live beyond reports, to replicate and sustain the work, it needs to live in the hands of communities and stakeholders with decision-making authorities. 


Our recent and current clients, Community Care Brooklyn and Asociación de Vecinos y Amigos del Casco Antiguo (AVACA) are all living examples the of how asset mapping can be leveraged to change minds and hearts to impact policy and/or system transformation and change. Influenced by deep democracy, the asset mapping curriculum developed for each initiative uses mindfulness and popular education to reveal how our hearts contain knowledge that can incrementally unearth new ideas and approaches to complex social issues while simultaneously supporting the co-creation and co-development of community-led people centered research. For more information on both projects, visit Community Care Brooklyn and  Santa Ana Lidera

At Rivera Consulting Inc., asset mapping is an example of decolonizing social science for communities to lead their own change. We develop sustainable learning hubs, where the tougher work of relationship building, mistakes, and iteration manifest - cyclically at best. Ultimately, it’s about taking the asset mapping tool and infusing it with pedagogy, a heart, and an action plan.