Purpose - Community asset mapping (CAM) is an evidence-based activity commonly used in local socioeconomic development initiatives. Residents and other stakeholders collaboratively identify the resources that they deem most important to the vitality of their community. Results are depicted qualitatively using maps. While maps are a useful means to convey information, alternate approaches to summarize data drawn from CAM activities may yield additional inferences that better inform community development initiatives.Design/methodology/approach - This study conducted a retrospective analysis of secondary, de-identified data collected from the 2015-2016 Gonzaga University Logan Neighborhood Asset Mapping Project. Hierarchical and nonhierarchical cluster analyses were used to establish interrelationships between the perceived importance of various community assets.Findings - The hierarchical cluster analysis revealed a very intuitive hierarchical clustering of community assets, with various health care services tightly clustered together. Similarly, farmers' markets, community gardens and meeting spaces were clustered closely together. Third, community education and care services for all age groups were clustered together. The nonhierarchical cluster analysis revealed intuitive clustering of respondent groups who valued particular sets of assets.Originality/value - By identifying these clusters and characterizing the linkages between them, it is possible to fund multiple development initiatives that are mutually reinforcing. For example, if the neighborhood obtains funds to invest, then they could be used to facilitate both community gardens and farmers' markets, two closely related activities. Additional physical locations might also be developed to support (possibly outdoor) meeting space.Peer review The peer review history for this article is available at:. https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/ IJSE-04-2020-0206.
Mapping the interrelationships between community assets
Mapping the interrelationships between community assets
McPherson, Matthew Q.; Friesner, Daniel; Bozman, Carl S.
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23 July 2020
Dear McPherson, Matthew; Friesner, Daniel; Bozman, Carl
It is a pleasure to accept your manuscript IJSE-04-2020-0206, entitled "Mapping the Inter-Relationships between Community Assets" in its current form for publication in International Journal of Social Economics. Please note, no further changes can be made to your manuscript.
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I advise you to read and re-read to correct grammatical errors and tenses if any.
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The paper is empirical presenting primary information from a survey with citizens of the Logan Neighborhood and students from Gonzaga University, USA. In this sense, the paper is interesting and justifies publication. Case studies and empirical research of this type are valuable since they present primary information which could further be used to advance theoretical research.
The paper covers a narrow topic, asset mapping, and how cluster analysis could be used to draw some conclusions and lessons for the development of local communities. The authors seem knowledgeable about the subject quoting previous studies in the field of asset mapping.
The case study and the survey it presents seem based on substantive statistical theory, with hierarchical and non-hierarchical cluster analysis being covered. In this sense, I find it more relevant to statistics, than economics. I find very little economics or economic theory in the paper but this does not make it less meaningful. There is a discussion of the statistical results with some recommendations for the Logan community which may not be applicable to other communities.
The paper is well written, using a clear and thorough English. There is a grammatical mistake in the sentence on p. 3, line 30 – "they rates" should perhaps read "they rate" in discussing respondents. There should also be some consistency in the use of "farmer’s market." In some places it is spelled without the possessive case as "farmers market," for instance, p. 4, line 43, p. 5, line 24, line 44. I think either one way should be used or the other. The language is clear, informative and descriptive.
Like I said, I discover little economics in the paper but it has some clear development dimensions in the coverage of asset mapping to meet the needs of different communities. In the conclusion the authors emphasize that the findings of their survey are relevant only to the Logan Community and Gonzaga University and may not be appropriate to other communities or users. However, I understand that the goal of the paper is to present asset mapping as an approach to study community needs which makes it valuable. Again, in the paper the authors state that the method of asset mapping is community specific and that without a deep understanding of the interrelationship between different community assets it is difficult to understand whether such initiatives achieve optimal use of those assets. In this sense, the authors have a critical approach stating the limitations of the method they adopt. Obviously, the approach in question could be used by municipalities or various communities in optimizing resources and their usage.
I found the most valuable part of the paper in its conclusion and I think it should be reorganized a little bit to make it more readable. As it is, the most essential results of the cluster analysis appear in the conclusion. Would it not be better to put the whole final part in a section "Discussion" where all results are clearly stated and more visible for the reader? Then in the conclusion the paper could briefly restate all essential points from the introduction and the findings in just 4-5 sentences. I think this would substantially improve the paper without much additional effort.
There are a proper statistical analysis and a survey questionnaire with the paper which 911 respondents filled out completely.
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