Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


How Do Community Associations Vary? A Study of Programmatic Activities and Economic Vitality in Grand Rapids, Michigan


School of Public, Nonprofit & Health Administration


College of Community and Public Service

Date Range





Neighborhood associations are increasingly important to place-making, economic development and community vitality, however, there are very few comprehensive studies that investigate the range of variation of these organizations in Midwestern cities. Neighborhood associations, tasked with a multitude of responsibilities ranging from policing, educational and workforce development activities, to beautification efforts, often work with volunteer labor to achieve these goals. How successful these organizations are at achieving these goals is down to the strength of each respective organization, the engagement of citizens, and communication with leaders at the city-level. Using a comparative case study method of the neighborhoods of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the second largest city in Michigan, this paper will compare the demographic, organizational, operational capacities, and programmatic activities of neighborhood associations. Using both surveys and in-person interviews with leaders of these organizations, this paper will explore the activities of neighborhood associations to city-wide vitality efforts of the city.

Conference Name

Urban Affairs Association Annual Meeting

Conference Location

Miami, FL

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