The City of Boise asked the Boise State Community and Regional Planning graduate students to look at the neighborhoods of Boise. The task: investigate factors that would increase their planning capacity – their ability to acknowledge needs, leverage assets and apply appropriate strategies to inform the future of development. As it turns out, that is no easy task. Provided with three study areas located within the Collister, West Valley and Morris Hill neighborhoods, and encouraged to coordinate with their respective neighborhood associations, we set to work. Continue reading
Planning in Idaho has historically neglected immigrant populations. The most notable instance of this is exemplified by the way Chinese immigrants were treated in the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s. The details of the mistakes made by Idaho in terms of Chinese populations is detailed in a blog by Stephanie Leonard. Planning has only recently begun catering to immigrant populations, but there is still room for improvement, especially in Idaho. The Latino population is the fastest growing segment of Idaho’s populous. It is important for Idaho to cater to this group and foster relationships early to create a positive relationship for future growth.
The Hyatt Wetlands Reserve located in western Boise, encompasses 44 acres of a beautiful, majestic nature reserve sheltered from the bustling traffic and urban development surrounding it. The reserve offers refuge for not only wildlife in the area, but for people as well. Residents from all over the Treasure Valley flock to the area to observe the dozens of bird species that call this little pocket of Boise home. The reserve’s trails crisscross the land, weaving along cattail filled pools and scaling up to scenic overlooks providing extravagant views of this urban oasis. The reserve allows runners, hikers and birdwatchers the opportunity to escape the suburban world around them and enjoy the natural setting that was once paramount in the area. Enhancing the quality of life is not the reserves only benefit; it also serves as a storm water treatment facility. The facility filters out pollutants created by surrounding road networks into clean, safe water. The decontaminated water is ultimately then channeled into the Boise River. The reserves apparent widespread success – not only to the environment, but also for Treasure Valley residents- deserves a review of how it came to be. Especially, as it wasn’t until 2012 that this wild, yet urban wetlands was fully realized by the city.
Throughout planning history it has not been uncommon to “forget” certain groups of people. In fact, throughout the United States’ history this has been recurring, both within the planning profession as well as outside it. Idaho was not left out in exercising this trend. Idaho’s planning history, although short in comparison to other American cities, has experienced its share of ebbs and flows, successes and failures. Embracing diversity and equity planning, especially in regard to the Chinese immigrants of the area, has not been among Idaho’s triumphs. Continue reading
From 1891 to 1928 the cities of Boise and its neighbors shared a rail system which provided convenient and affordable transportation from one town to the next. The rail system was very popular and not only provided citizens transportation from one city to the next and within the city, but was also a means for citizens to access recreational opportunities outside of town. Places a short ride into the country like Pierce Park, located by the Boise River where Plantation Golf Course it today, and Eagle Island, were popular destinations for picnics and boaters.
Water and agriculture played prominent roles in fostering growth in the Collister neighborhood, a bucolic ‘burb nestled against Boise’s foothills. But it was through transportation and urbanization, through an electric streetcar line threaded through Collister Station, mixed with an influx of business and new residents, that later solidified the characteristics of this unique area.
Boise’s Morris Hill Neighborhood has a rich history, including having the Western Idaho fairgrounds located within its boundaries from 1902 to 1967. The annual Western Idaho Fair was a cultural event that drew large crowds and excitement to the Morris Hill area, providing residents with the opportunity to socialize and enjoy the events. The fair continues to this day in its current location on Glenwood Street. The Morris Hill Neighborhood shares its eastern boundary with the Morris Hill Cemetery, established in January of 1882 which makes it one of the oldest cemeteries in Boise. This cemetery also has a long history, and is the final resting place of some notable characters in Idaho’s history – among them, Joseph A. Albertson, Moses Alexander and Frank Church. Although the Morris Hill Cemetery serves its original purpose, it also creates a valuable green space for the surrounding neighborhoods. The cemetery has persisted, more or less, unchanged since its original development, but the surrounding area has changed drastically. Originally the cemetery was considered to be on the outskirts of town, but as time went on Boise continued to annex outward. Both of these places are important as they provide a historic identity to the Morris Hill Neighborhood. Only one of these places remain today, but imagine how different Morris Hill would look had the fairgrounds stayed.