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Mission, Vision, and Values



LiKEN is a link-tank for communities – to build capacity to grow good livelihoods based on local assets, to monitor community health and wealth to avoid boom and bust, and to take evidence-based action for future well-being based on deep understanding of the past.


We envision a world of resilient communities able to create, sustain, and regenerate local livelihoods and community wellbeing.

LiKEN acts as a link-tank between scholars, communities, and resources.

Who, What, & Where

We serve as a bridge organization in collaborations to build local livelihoods, mutual care, community resilience, and community wealth by meeting basic life needs through stewardship of local life commons. Our current and emerging work focuses on communities affected by environmental injustice and boom and bust economies – primarily in Indigenous communities, Appalachia, and the U.S. South. 

Capacities, Skills, & Frameworks

Our research design is informed by the LiKEN Framework for Collaborative Actionable Research which features asset-based and appreciative inquiry; empowerment, community science, Participatory Action Research (PAR); democratic knowledge sharing networks and collaboration across the sectors of community, scholars, and government; historical, contextual, and iterative analysis of root causes and socio-ecological system change; multi-scalar analysis centered on the local.
To address each aspect of our three-fold mission we have developed methods, skills, and organizational protocols and practices that accomplish a threefold mission:


  1. To nurture local livelihoods based on local life commons: Suite of PAR methods for community-based and community-driven research and action planning: asset inventories, power / social mapping, root cause analysis*, community action plans, stakeholder / constituent assessment*, community engagement and organizing, public folklore and communications, public archives and audiovisual documentation, agency mapping*, corporate research.

  2. To build trustworthy, cross-sectoral collaborations: Suite of methods for collaborative team and network building: appreciative causal mapping*, cross-sectoral translation*, facilitation (of deliberative forums and meetings), democratic team-building and action planning, building and maintaining knowledge sharing networks, building theories of change (with particular focus at the bioregional scale).

  3. To catalyze the coproduction of learning and communication platforms: Suite of resources for communication and participatory documentation that are transparent, accountable, accessible, justice-centered, and equitable: popular education materials, curriculum in PAR and qualitative methods*, issue- and program-based publications, bottom-up and community engaged policy reports, communications campaigns and audience analyses, IndigenousACCESS (Adaptation, Climate Change Education, & Sustainability Solutions--an advanced web-based content management platform which is under development for our knowledge sharing networks)*, public folklore and public archives.

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