Neighborhood Opportunity Network

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Mapping the suburbs!

Posted by katieschmahl on March 24, 2010

For session #3  Neighbor Corps went out in the neighborhood to do asset mapping!

First, George led us in our Hello Circle and our reconnect question to start us off. (Thanks for the support George!)

Then we talked about what our common vision was for Gaithersburg. Each person drew their vision on a sheet of paper and then in small groups we came up with ideas that were in the drawings. Then as a full group, we came up with these common themes:

– open access for everyone to nature, recreational sites, education and all resources

– it’s a safe area for everyone

-people aren’t afraid to greet people they see on the street, they help each other

-and it’s a very inclusive and supportive atmosphere

After that, we broke for lunch and then came back together to talk about assets. Tim led us through a discussion on what personal and community assets were and how we can identify them in the neighborhood. He encouraged us to “think creatively” about what we normally think of as assets; for ex. maybe a park bench or a forest can be an asset!

Then..we went walking into the neighborhood! We split up into 7 groups of about 3 people and each group had a section in either Washington Grove, Old town Gaithersburg, Emory Grove, Girard Street, or along East Diamond Ave.

As a group we discovered about 150 different shared assets in an hour! We also had some great discussions with residents we met along the way. For ex. Paula, Judy and Bill talked to some business owners in Old Town about what their challenges were and received mixed responses, some about safety and some about rent. Also, George, Laura and I went to a community off of Washington Grove Lane to talk to a woman we met about what she liked about Gaithersburg and what she would change. It turned out that there was a new development being built right next to her 60 year old neighborhood, and she was concerned about the new residents using their one lane road to get out of the development.

It was amazing to share all the discoveries we had made with the whole group-some assets were new to many people-they said they had driven down the road many times but never taken the time to actually see or visit all the restaurants, stores, schools, parks, etc! Our homework for next session is to visit one of the places that we had never been to before and to talk to the owner and introduce yourself and Neighbor Corps! We’ll be starting with dinner at Ay Jalisco on Friday!


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