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Research Opportunities

Undergraduate students are able to participate in faculty projects at the cutting-edge of urban research about city administration, environmental planning, art-based community development, and social movement organizing. Students build research skills through experiential learning in the Capstone project, Urban Field School, and Investigate Boise program.

Learn about Experiential Learning opportunities in Urban Studies

Krista Paulsen

Spotlight Publication:

Krista E. Paulsen and Hayley Tuller. 2017. “Crafting Place: Craft Beer and Authenticity in Jacksonville, Florida.” Pp. 105-123 in Untapped: Exploring the Cultural Dimensions of Craft Beer. Nathaniel G. Chapman, J. Slade Lellock, and Cameron D. Lippard, eds. West Virginia University Press.

This chapter examines how King Street, a once nondescript retail and commercial area of Jacksonville, Florida, was transformed into a regional destination for craft beer and other types of hip urban consumption. Using archival and interview methods, we detail the efforts of brewers and bar owners to remake both the King Street District and Jacksonville more broadly. Brewers understood their product and their facilities as opportunities to emphasize unique qualities of Jacksonville, amplified through their adaptive reuse of spaces and self-conscious attention to a particular sense of place. As has been observed in other gentrifying districts, King Street’s success turned in part on its claims to authenticity, accomplished here through the proximity of production to consumption and selective emphasis on the area’s commercial and industrial past. Conclusions detail the role of craft beer in the remaking of urban neighborhoods, and the capacity of locally-identified businesses to shape urban identities.

Current Research Projects:

“Local Understandings of Short-Term Rentals’ Impacts on Housing and Neighborhoods”
As more houses, condos and apartments are used as short-term rentals, we have much to learn about how these new land uses are changing the character of neighborhoods or long-term residents’ experiences of the places where they live. Focusing on Boise, Idaho, this project uses observational, archival, and interview methods to understand the proliferation of short-term rentals from the perspective of neighborhood residents.

“Housing Opportunities for All Vertically Integrated Project (VIP)”
Together with Dr. Vanessa Fry (Idaho Policy Institute), I am leading a group of student researchers seeking to respond to the Treasure Valley’s housing crisis. Our goal is to make Boise State a research resource for local governments, nonprofits, and citizens as they policies and practices that will increase housing access.

“Understanding Neighborhood Continuity”
This project takes up a largely un-researched set of questions regarding how neighborhoods retain consistent characters over substantial periods of time. Using archival, visual, and observational methods, it examines how one neighborhood – Avondale, in Jacksonville, Florida – has retained its characteristic built environment, demographic composition, and elite reputation for the last century.

Read Krista's Selected Works

Christopher Courtheyn

Spotlight publication:

Courtheyn, C. 2018. “Territories of peace: Alter-territorialities in
Colombia’s San José de Apartadó Peace Community.” Journal of Peasant
Studies 45 (7): 1432-1459.

Scholars are increasingly re-theorizing territory beyond the
nation-state given Indigenous and Afro-descendant groups’ demands for
‘territory’ as they confront land grabbing in Latin America. Yet
alternative territorialities are not limited to such ethnic groups.
This article explores the relational territoriality produced by a
peasant “peace community” in Colombia. By tracing the collective
political subject produced by the Peace Community’s active production
of peace through a set of spatial practices, places and values, which
include massacre commemorations, food sovereignty initiatives and
Indigenous–peasant solidarity networks, this contribution presents a
conceptual framework for analyzing diverse territorial formations.

Current research projects:

“Community of Peace: Performing Geographies of Ecological Dignity in Colombia”
This research project analyzes how a “peace community” in a Colombian
war zone forges grassroots development through the creation of
autonomous peace zones, sustainable ecological practices, and
solidarity networks with other social movements. In collaboration with
the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó and human rights
organizations like the Fellowship of Reconciliation, this project
examines how researchers and activists can ethically and impactfully
work alongside community development movements.

“Abandoning the Revolution? An Urban Ethnography of South-South
Migration in South America”
Migrants fleeing political violence and economic hardship increasingly
settle in cities rather than in refugee camps. This project analyzes
how Venezuelan emigrants shape the urban neighborhoods in which they
settle. In collaboration with partners like the Horizon of Youth
Foundation and the Women Weavers of Peace project along the
Colombia-Venezuela border, it explores how Venezuelan immigrants in
other South American countries join with humanitarian organizations
and internally-displaced populations to empower migrants, youth,
women, and ethnic groups in their work for social justice.

Spotlight Publication

From Blue-Collar to Green: Grant Will Help Historian Chart Boise’s ‘Deindustrialization’

The city of Boise, notable for its ongoing growth spurt, bills itself as a green and sporty city – a place where one can bike the Greenbelt to work, roam the nearby foothills, even float the Boise River through the heart of downtown. This characterization, one that has landed Boise on a slew of “best of” lists, overlooks the fact that Boise once was a far more industrial place. It was home to steel plants, foundries, slaughterhouses, warehouses and a blue-collar workforce that kept them all running.

Jennifer Stevens, an environmental urban historian and assistant clinical professor in the School of Public Service, is researching this largely forgotten part of Boise’s history. She will explore the “deindustrialization” that transformed Boise into the aspirational green city it is today.

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