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Urban Studies Students Help Tell the Story of Downtown Boise

(left – right: Saki Yamada, Jenna Shaw, Adrienne Weatherly, Dr. Jillian Moroney, Christina Schaeffer, Savannah Willits, and Andrew Dave)

The rapid growth experienced by Boise has garnered national attention, with the City of Trees appearing on numerous “Best Of” lists. Boise’s vibrant downtown has served as a catalyst for the economic and population growth of the Treasure Valley, with many out-of-state businesses considering relocation to Boise while existing downtown businesses want to better understand trends and opportunities.

Students from Boise State’s Urban Studies and Community Development senior Capstone class provided research and created informative tools to help the Downtown Boise Association better tell the story of a downtown experiencing the biggest building boom in Idaho’s history. The student work is featured in the State of Downtown report, an online project hosted by the DBA.

The Urban Studies students were recognized for their work at the 32nd annual State of Downtown Boise Annual Meeting on April 17.

For their capstone project, students performed research and created infographics illustrating housing trends, quality of life factors, and the vital role of Boise State in the community. Students also produced a printed fact sheet for prospective downtown businesses and built an online story map of the report.

Course instructor Dr. Jillian Moroney noted that the course is an important opportunity for students to put their urban analyst skills to work in a way that benefits the local community. “Boise is a fantastic living laboratory,” said Moroney. “This project was a great opportunity for students to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it to a project for a real client. The work they’ve produced is exactly what prospective employers are looking for.”

Lynn Hightower of the Downtown Boise Association stated that product delivered by the students “absolutely exceeded expectations” and has already been useful. Hightower also noted that student research is part of an ongoing national study on the value of US downtowns by the International Downtown Association.

“It’s significant that Boise is part of that study” said Hightower. “And the students work will be rolled into it. I think that’s pretty impressive.”

Students being honored at an event