Some Recommended Steps for BSU-Neighborhood Partnerships

Excerpts from University and Community Partnerships: Creating a Dialogue and Taking Action, by Sabrina Durtschi, Community and Regional Planning, Boise State University, 5/25/17. Link is here for full download

...universities across the United States have been encouraging and investing for faculty to live near-by their university. An example of this can be seen from Ohio State University. Ohio State found themselves surrounded by distressed neighborhoods, so they determined “if people choose to live, work and invest in a neighborhood, then businesses will succeed, property values will rise and the population will expand” (Sterrett, 2009). One implementation measure they pursued was to help with investment for the surrounding neighborhoods, which provided a “university sponsored homeownership incentive program that offered $3,000 in down-payment assistance to employees who bought homes in the University District” (Sterrett, 2009).

...To have a sustainable and vital neighborhood there needs to be a mix of households, not only students, but also young families, retirees, and young professionals to support and invest in the neighborhoods.

...A few problems arise with not having a good mix of rental vs. owner-occupied housing: First, there is a lack of investment within the homes and the neighborhoods. Students who are renting are only there for a short period of time and are not invested in the homes they rent or in the community they live. Therefore, they are less likely to become involved with their neighborhood’s associations or take action to invest into the community or in the home they occupy. Second, a growing phenomenon is “studentification” whereby neighborhoods get taken over by student rentals. Studentification is not like gentrification, since the neighborhood does not physically improve, but it does push out elderly, families and low-income residents who either cannot live near student housing, due to noise, traffic or the potential reduction in property values due to being surrounded by student rentals (Bromley, 2006).

In comparison BSU’s surrounding conditions are not at the deteriorated level that Ohio State’s once was, however, there is still a call of action needed to be taken by BSU. This call of action is based on the fact that the “transition area” and the surrounding fringes, are beginning to deteriorate and will continue to deteriorate if action is not taken now.