Neighborhood associations

A neighborhood association is a group of residents who work together to improve and enhance the geographic area in which they and others live. In mixed commercial and residential areas, neighborhood associations frequently include business owners or representatives.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Increased social capital

  • Increased social cohesion

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Increased community involvement

Evidence of Effectiveness

Neighborhood associations are a suggested strategy to increase social capital and social cohesion in communities (CDC-Social capital, ). Available evidence suggests that involvement in neighborhood associations may be associated with greater political and community activity for participants (, ).

Among individuals participating in neighborhood associations, those who are most active report the highest levels of social capital (, ). Participants who spend face-to-face time and develop interpersonal relationships with other group members may be more likely to continue their participation than those who do not (). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Impact on Disparities

No impact on disparities likely

Implementation Examples

Cities in several states are members of Neighborhoods USA (NUSA); associations are common in many municipalities.

Implementation Resources

Henderson Neighborhood - City of Henderson Nevada. Neighborhood leadership toolkit.

Providence Neighborhood - City of Providence - Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services. Neighborhood association tool kit: A guide to creating a successful neighborhood association.

Citations - Evidence

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

Hays 2007* - Hays RA, Kogl AM. Neighborhood attachment, social capital building, and political participation: A case study of low- and moderate-income residents of Waterloo, IA. Journal of Urban Affairs. 2007;29(2):181–205.

Lenk 2002* - Lenk KM, Toomey TL, Wagenaar AC, Bosma LM, Vessey J. Can neighborhood associations be allies in health policy efforts? Political activity among neighborhood associations. Journal of Community Psychology. 2002;30(1):57-68.

Ohmer 2007* - Ohmer ML. Citizen participation in neighborhood organizations and its relationship to volunteers’ self- and collective efficacy and sense of community. Social Work Research. 2007;31(2):109-20.

Ohmer 2008* - Ohmer ML. The relationship between citizen participation and organizational processes and outcomes and the benefits of citizen participation in neighborhood organizations. Journal of Social Service Research. 2008;34(4):41-60.

CDC-Social capital - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Social capital.

Alaimo 2010* - Alaimo K, Reischi TM, Allen JO. Community gardening, neighborhood meetings, and social capital. Journal of Community Psychology. 2010;38(4):497-514.

Christens 2011* - Christens BD, Speer PW. Contextual influences on participation in community organizing: A multilevel longitudinal study. American Journal of Community Psychology. 2011;47(3-4):253–263.

Citations - Implementation Examples

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

NUSA - Neighborhoods USA (NUSA). Building stronger communities.

Date Last Updated

Jun 4, 2015