Type of Culminating Activity

Graduate Student Project

Graduation Date


Degree Title

Master of Applied Historical Research



Major Advisor

Bob H. Reinhardt


Members of neighborhood associations in Boise have long acted as advocates for historic preservation, environmental conservation, and effective urban growth management. However, little historical research exploring the impact of neighborhood activists on both the regional and national level exists. This project addresses the lack of scholarship through the creation of three key elements: a website that highlights both the history of neighborhood organizing in Boise and significant figures of the activist movement, a community lecture presenting these findings to the public, and a brochure detailing the goals of the project to neighbors. Additionally, this research highlights patterns that will provide future scholars of community organizing with insight into common issues faced by local neighborhood groups.

Not only does this project assess the behaviors and impact of neighborhood associations in Boise, but it also attempts to serve as guidance for future community activists - highlighting the ways in which neighborhood activism can both unite and divide. Community groups are capable of inspiring noble and positive change when managed by neighbors effectively. However, historical research reveals that these organizations also have the potential to be used for individualistic and harmful ends. Analyzing the ways in which these groups have deviated from creating common good historically serves as a necessary point of reflection for both present and future activists.

The key elements of this project are united by three goals. First, these pieces include detailed histories of three Boise neighborhood associations, their activists, and the impact of these organizations on the greater community. This project will also provide citizens with the resources necessary for increased involvement in their neighborhood associations, among which include brief histories of the aforementioned organizations, links to the City of Boise’s neighborhood resource page, and contact information for relevant local officials. Finally, the project will establish a foundation upon which current neighborhood associations can build. By not only analyzing Boise’s diverse neighborhood histories and activists, but also addressing the ways in which they can continue to improve, community members of the present may be motivated to become more involved with their neighborhood organizations.