Why Being In The "Middle Of Nowhere" Can Be A Good Thing

Jul 9, 2013

As Boise celebrates its 150th birthday this month, the city and its residents are also thinking about the next 150 years. Boise is looking toward community planning to meet its goal of becoming “the most livable city in the country.”  

Jaap Vos is the head of the community and regional planning department at Boise State University. He says Boise is a place people want to stay, and are willing to improve.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

And when it comes to planning a city’s future, Boise is looking to Jaap Vos. He is the director of the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Boise State University. Vos moved to town a year ago, and is building the academic program that will produce a new group of city planners.

Vos says one of the unique characteristics of Idaho's capital city is its lack of connected infrastructure.

“A lot of the U.S. got opened up with the interstate highways system," says Vos. "Boise was not one of those places. But I think the Internet and the way we are connected nowadays, might do that. It might actually open this place up. And then we have to be careful that we still value what we have now and that it doesn’t change.”

Vos says in Boise’s case, isolation could actually be a strength. He compares Boise with his last home – Florida. He says southern Florida is one of the most connected places in the country with international air and water ports. Thanks to its connectedness, Vos says Floridians don’t need to rely on the help of others – which takes away from a sense of community many people look for. He says that in Boise’s case, isolation means people are more willing to help each other out and improve the city.

Jaap Vos will be talking about Boise’s future this Thursday evening. Join KBSX in downtown Boise for a Community Conversation.