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  Free To Grow
  Mailman School
  of Public Health
  Columbia University
  722 West 168th Street,
  8th Floor
  New York, NY 10032

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NOTE: as of April 17, 2007, the Free to Grow program has closed.
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Community Assessment
The past few decades have seen a flurry of community assessment strategies designed to provide a deeper understanding of the nature and scope of community's needs and resources. Unfortunately, many of these assessments sometimes become one more document ready to collect dust on the shelves of community stakeholders. Residents voice increasing frustration with requests for just a little more information about their primary concerns, requests that sometimes appear superfluous in communities with poor schools, limited affordable housing and economic opportunity, and high levels of crime and violence.

However, there are increasing numbers of community assessment approaches designed not merely to collect information about a community, but also to engage residents in a community change process by identifying issues and resources, analyzing and problem-solving with diverse community leaders, and taking incremental steps towards community improvement. These assessment strategies are based in an action research perspective which believes that those residing in a community must be partners in shaping and seeking solutions to community concerns. Moreover, community assessment strategies that engage residents often provide a more textured understanding of a community's issues helping providers to understand the user's perspective within a local social service delivery system.

The community assessment approaches highlighted within this section all fall within an action research framework. As such, one of their primary outcomes is community engagement on behalf of community action.

Click below for additional resources and community assessment strategies.

Other Helpful Info

Identifying Community Assets and Resources

Kansas City Walkability Plan Neighborhood Walking Survey

Community Building Coming of Age

Community Assessment Strategies

  The Study Circles Approach to Community Engagement
  Bridging the Gap: Research Informing Practice for Healthy Youth Behavior
  Pacific Institute for Community Organization (PICO)
  The Community Engagement Process
  Social Reconnaissance Model


copyright 2008 Free To Grow
Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.