Innovation in Outreach

Innovation in Outreach


We used a new, creative approach to effectively engage underrepresented communities in a conversation about the city’s proposed modern zoning code.

Cartoon drawing of a person sitting with a pink thought bubble overhead that says "Walkability - especially with these gas prices is actually saving my life.

The Need

The city invested deeply in community outreach as part of its efforts to modernize our zoning code. However, research shows that many groups (renters, students, communities of color) are unlikely to participate in traditional outreach efforts. We needed to hear from all our residents to create a modern zoning code that met the needs of our community.

The Solution

We partnered with a Boise State graduate student to visit locations throughout the city where she was likely to encounter underrepresented communities – laundromats, Hispanic markets, the Boise River float takeout, etc. – and interview residents about their perspectives on the proposed modern zoning code. The Boise State student found that the people she interviewed had a different perspective on zoning than residents who participated in traditional outreach. For example, people she interviewed were more than four times as likely to say they strongly supported allowing a variety of housing types in all neighborhoods than respondents to a traditional community survey.

In the Media

Boise zoning code outreach efforts visit laundromats, Hispanic markets and coffee shops
September 30, 2022


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