The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Office for Sustainability Division of Finance and Administration

RGV Assessment Mapping Initiative

Asset Mapping in the Rio Grande Valley

The RGV Asset Mapping Initiative is a collaboration between UTRGV, the LRGV Economic Council, and local community members to provide a map of what resources exist and where they exist in the Rio Grande Valley.  

Do you ever ask yourself, “Don’t we have that expertise here in the Rio Grande Valley?”  And if we do, where is it.  An asset map is map or understanding of a community’s resources on many levels.  It begins with the approach of building on what we already have, rather than bringing in assistance for areas that we already have the knowledge for.

From the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, regarding the Mapping Community Assets Workbook:

“‘From a community development perspective, it helps to think of our communities in terms of their wealth—in people, things, services, and resources that they possess,’ says author Dr. Diane Dorfman. ‘To build from what you have requires asking different kinds of questions to learn different kinds of things about where you live.’ (what is asset mapping)

For the purposes of this initiative, we have decided to group the assets in three groups—social, economic, and environmental—and will use the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development areas to border our topics, which include a total of 169 targets/end points.  These include:

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*

Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

cogsThe process works best when capacities are mapped and synergized dynamically so that they multiply their impact. (Cogs in a wheel driving other cogs).  An example of a community asset map to use to educate the community could look like this:

asset mapping example

Figure above from McKnight JL and Kretzmann, JP, Mapping Community Capacity, 1990