What: Think about what you want to achieve. Why are you doing this? When do you want to complete it by?
Where: Be clear about which area you want to map – start small with a neighbourhood/village. Keep it manageable.
Who: Who can help you? Try to work with other groups. Having a mix of people will give you a more balanced view – young and old, male and female, different interest groups. What about working with local schools or youth groups? Your local authority may be able to provide you with information about public and community assets.
How: There are lots of different ways to approach mapping – you can try more than one. Use the mapping process to generate suggestions about which assets matter:
Online surveys can reach hundreds of people easily and can be done free of charge. If you have a membership database, you could try this, asking them to email you suggested assets or going to a survey web page to give their views. A more open ‘crowd sourcing’ approach can also be used, inviting the public to take part, maybe through your website, twitter or social networking sites.
Focus groups and discussion groups are good for bringing people together to identify possible opportunities, discuss issues and see where people agree. Having a map in front of you can help stimulate ideas.
Walkabouts with small groups of people, armed with cameras, can both stimulate ideas and generate discussions within the groups. You could agree which streets each group will look at.
The local media can be used to generate interest and report on discussions, including newspapers and local bloggers.
Try to record all of the suggestions in a visual way if possible, ideally on a map, as this will make it easier to discuss. This could involve putting post-it notes on a simple map on a flipchart or on a wall map, or using an online mapping tool.
Having generated a long list of suggested assets, get together and discuss whether it is possible to prioritise them. Which assets does the community value the most and thinks offer the most potential for being revived, preserved or transformed?
Follow up your discussions by using the information to stimulate action. Be realistic, focus on some manageable goals. There are more ideas on the next page about what you can do next…