Assignment 1: Community Map (2020)
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Assignment 1: Your Community Map
Communities might share the same landscape, neighborhood, interests, language, values…or simply the same practice. There are various ways of identifying them. Sometimes, several communities are sharing the same context. Some communities are easy to communicate with, even if we come from outside. Other communities might be almost invisible, without any organization or forum, but they might be very relevant for understanding a local system and its context.
A community map has the following goals:
- It illustrates your own understanding of the community
- It illustrates your group members understanding
- It helps you to get a joint understanding within your team
- It helps you to communicate your understanding of the community to the community
- It allows the community to make corrections and additions, so that step-by-step a deeper understanding evolves.
In principle, a community map is a graphical representation of any human-centered system context. You can produce a hand-drawn artefact or use digital tools for developing it. Hand-drawn maps are nice as they trigger fun and identification among the community members. Digital maps have the advantage of being easy to change and further develop. Please consider the community map as a tool and working document, which is constantly evolving. Therefore, a flexible representation method might be preferred.
Typical elements of a community map are the following:
- Social groups from within the community, for example the youth, kids, students, parents, the retired etc. Typically, these groups have specific needs, which you can also make explicit on the map. These people might not be organized in any way, but they are usually present in the context you are observing
- Local stakeholder groups: these groups are organized in one or the other way. They only exist within the community context you are observing. For example: the local community center, local churches, local interest groups, the landowners, small businesses and retailers
- External stakeholder groups are not present in the environment you are observing, but they have stakes and interests. These can be local authorities, politicians, associations, care services etc.
- For each group, you may identify their needs, objectives, power and capacities
- If your community is linked to a physical location (i.e. neighborhood, village) you may also represent the local landscape context, cultural elements and other spatial characteristics
- You may also identify gaps and power conflicts
- Try not to represent these elements as separated from each other. What is the relationship between them? Are they close or distanced from each other? Who is more powerful? Which voices are hardly heard? Do they have any shared concerns?
Of course, many of your thoughts will build on assumptions, especially at the beginning of your observations. This is OK as long as you make your assumptions explicit on your map. When you discuss your map in the community, you can try to find further evidence and clarify your assumptions. This is a great way of developing your community map iteratively. The community map is always a team product.
- You present your community map within your tutored session to be scheduled in the period 31.03.- 06.04.2020 (your tutor will specify the date with you)
- Please submit your community map on April 6, 2020, in the submission area on ILIAS. Access data will be provided.