The 12 Key Assets of Commonwealth
February 16, 2014

commonwealthdiagramThis is the second post in our two part series explaining commonwealth and how we believe it essential for revitalizing communities in the Great Plains region. We have identified 12 Key Assets of Commonwealth. No matter how financially rich or poor a town may be, these 12 key assets are present in any community.

Each asset is intertwined with the others. It is important to stress that Commonwealth becomes social, economic, ecological and cultural capital when it is enhanced and invested in, not depleted or squandered.

The 12 Key Assets of Commonwealth are:

  • Education: the local resources for learning. Beyond schools or universities, this also includes the imparting of knowledge from one member of the community to another.
  • Health: the resources for physical, mental, and spiritual wellness and eel-being that exist in the community or region
  • Leisure & Recreation: the social opportunities, abilities, and infrastructure for resting, retreating, re-creating, and savoring life in the community or region
  • Spirituality: the web of relationships, connections, and practices that knit together persons, community, the environment, and the cosmos
  • History: a local and regional knowledge of particular experiences through stories and memories
  • Sense of Place: “…that complex of meaning that gives a landscape significance in the eyes of the people who inhabit it, marking it off from the surrounding terra incognita…” Source:  Ryden, Kent C. Mapping the Invisible Landscape: Folklore, Writing, and the Sense of Place (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1993), p. xiv.
  • Arts & Culture: the shapes, colors, and contours of our locality and region, as well as our way of viewing the place, plus our habits, our attitudes, our celebrations, our songs, our dances
  • Water Cycle: the combined healthy functioning of water in all its hydrologic stages…especially the capacity to continually regenerate an abundant community of life in the locality and region
  • Wildlife & the Natural World: the diversity of flora, fauna, geology, and physical geography that constitute the ecological web of a locality and region
  • Soil & Mineral Cycle: the healthy functioning of processes: birth, death, and decay, that build local soils, and allow for continual renewal of the life in the region
  • Foodshed: the ecology and cultures that grow, process, market, and distribute food and food products from the local community and region
  • Renewable Energy: the regional availability as well as local harnessing of energy infinitely sourced from sunlight and the solar cycle, instead of finite fossil fuels
  • Ogallala Commons provides education and leadership for communities to become aware of these 12 assets and to reinvest in them as vital capital. It is a different way of thinking about our communities—a viewpoint that starts with assets instead of looking only at deficiencies and needs.

Take a moment to think of your community. Can you list resources, events, and items specific to your community that fit each of the 12 assets listed above? What are some ways your community is stewarding these resources so that they become capital?