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Neighborhood associations

Health Factors: Family & Social Support
Decision Makers: Community Development Professionals Community Members Local Government
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: 10-19% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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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

Increased social capital
Increased social cohesion
Increased community involvement

Evidence of Effectiveness

Neighborhood associations are a suggested strategy to increase social capital and social cohesion in communities (CDC-Social capital, Alaimo 2010). Available evidence suggests that involvement in neighborhood associations may be associated with greater political and community activity for participants (Hays 2007, Lenk 2002).

Among individuals participating in neighborhood associations, those who are most active report the highest levels of social capital (Ohmer 2007, Ohmer 2008). 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 (Christens 2011). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.


United States

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


The Madison Neighborhood Program supports neighborhood associations in the City of Madison. Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Eau Claire are examples of other Wisconsin municipalities with neighborhood associations (Milwaukee-Neighborhood, Green Bay-Neighborhood, Eau Claire-Neighborhood).

Implementation Resources

Henderson Neighborhood - City of Henderson Nevada. Neighborhood leadership toolkit. Accessed on March 6, 2019
Providence Neighborhood - City of Providence - Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services. Neighborhood association tool kit: A guide to creating a successful neighborhood association. Accessed on March 6, 2019

Citations - Evidence

Alaimo 2010* - Alaimo K, Reischi TM, Allen JO. Community gardening, neighborhood meetings, and social capital. Journal of Community Psychology. 2010;38(4):497-514. Accessed on March 6, 2019
CDC-Social capital - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Social capital. Accessed on March 6, 2019
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. Accessed on March 6, 2019
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. Accessed on March 6, 2019
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. Accessed on March 6, 2019
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. Accessed on March 6, 2019
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. Accessed on March 6, 2019

Citations - Implementation

Eau Claire-Neighborhood - City of Eau Claire Wisconsin. Neighborhoods. Accessed on March 6, 2019
Green Bay-Neighborhood - City of Green Bay. Neighborhood associations. Accessed on March 6, 2019
Madison Neighborhood Program - City of Madison Neighborhood Associations. Welcome to Madison's neighborhoods. Accessed on March 6, 2019
Milwaukee-Neighborhood - City of Milwaukee. Neighborhood groups in Milwaukee. Accessed on March 6, 2019
NUSA - Neighborhoods USA (NUSA). Building stronger communities. Accessed on March 6, 2019

Page Last Updated

June 4, 2015

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