Local assets are intended to provide the participants with an introductory view of
the positive aspects located throughout their community. While the initial assets
that were identified and utilized were arranged by the project organizers, the intent
was that they would give the youth a platform from which they could begin identifying
assets from their own perspectives. Another purpose for selecting the groups or organizations
in this portion of the program was to point out positive institutions or aspects of
neighborhood history that many of the participants may have been unaware of prior
to the beginning of the program.
The 2007 Youth Neighborhood Mapping Initiative was implemented in two different city
neighborhoods. As a result, the local assets that were identified in each region
were quite different in terms of their content.
Stax Museum of American Soul Music
A tour of a local landmark is intended to provide participants with a different perspective
of the area in which they live. Program youth often view their neighborhood as having always been rundown and violent. A tour of a landmark demonstrates that the lack of economic investment in their community
is a relatively new development and also shows the impact that their area has had
on the culture at the local, national, and even global levels.
Lorraine Motel / Civil Rights Museum
The museum offers an interesting opportunity for learning in several ways. During the first walk to the museum, the group was able to witness and participate
in an impromptu discussion on the causes of and effects of gentrification in the South
Main neighborhood. This real life application of one of the previously discussed concepts offered a
much more tangible example of the work that city planners often engage in. The museum also offered a unique glimpse into the role that the Peabody-Vance area
played during the Civil Rights movement and the sanitation strike during 1968.
Elmwood Cemetery is an historic cemetery located in the southern portion of the city.
It offers a unique glimpse into the past of the city gives visitors an opportunity
to explore the resting place of many of the founding fathers of the city of Memphis.
Davis Community Center
Davis Community Center offers a range of services and facilities to the Messick-Buntyn neighborhood in which
it is located. In addition to providing sports and recreational activities such as
basketball, volleyball, baseball and weightlifting, it also provides the community
with computers and Internet access, mentoring and character building and social development
for youth programs, a summer youth camp, and a seniors program, as well as other educational
and cultural programs.
The University of Memphis
In addition to providing the students with access to the technology used to develop
their projects, the University also exposed the students to the collegiate environment.
Spending time on campus also created an awareness of the many activities and programs
that the University-community partnerships undertake and how a university’s role in
a community is greater than that of an educator.
The Brooks Museum
The Brooks Museum offers the City of Memphis a multitude of cultural experiences through
their permanent and special exhibits as well as their public outreach programs. For
the participants of the YNMI, the Brooks offered insight into how cultural institutions
interact with other neighborhood assets (Overton Park), reflect the demographics of
the local community and offer education opportunities to visitors and community residents.
Open Space and Parks
Memphis has a wealth of parks that offer its citizens opportunities to congregate and socialize.
By studying and visiting area parks like Audubon, Peabody, and Marquette, participants
were able to understand the role that parks play in creating a sense of community.
In addition, the many parks analyzed by the participants served as a unique example
of how neighborhood assets can function as liabilities for the community if the appropriate
resources are not allocated to these public spaces.