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There are many issues to consider when undertaking a community assessment. Consider the following topics to help you get started on developing a Community Profile.
Getting the Right People Involved
Consider organizing and getting the community involved. You may wish to form a planning team, seek out local experts or tap the talents of high school and college students. The team leading the Community assessment process should be representative of the community at large and include knowledgeable persons on a variety of topics. Check out Building Local Partnerships, from Know Your Watershed, Conservation Information Technology Center.
Planning Area Boundary
Have you considered the size and shape of your planning area? Is it the municipal limits or is it a watershed boundary or is it framed around a problem area? Developing a planning area boundary is important for the later task of data gathering and analysis. If your planning area is too small, you may not capture the extent of issues which may affect the community. Often times, sources of economic or environmental problems do not abide by political boundaries.
Choose your planning area carefully so that you can best understand the issues which may affect your community and its environs.
You will want to collect data and information from a wide variety of sources in order to complete a community profile. The Tools section lists recommended topics to include in your community assessment and points you to sources of that information.