New Kids on the Block:
An Analysis of Student
Housing Trends in
AMES UNN NGHAM
ANESSA ARLEGL O
Keene State College
Department of Geography
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Christopher Cusack
First, we would like to thank the entire Geography department; Dr. K. Alvarez, Dr. K Bayr,
Professor T. Miller, Dr. Jo Beth Mullens and Dr. Al Rydant who have helped shape our education
to this point. With a special thanks to Dr. Christopher Cusack who has spent countless hours
working with us on this project and many other projects preparing us for life after college. The
Department of Geography and its faculty represent an extraordinary element of Keene State
College which leaves a lasting impression on every student who passes through it. We would
like to thank Dan Curran and Dave Curran, for allowing us to attend meetings and giving us
insight on what was happening within the Southeast Keene neighborhood. We would like to
acknowledge and thank Will Schoefmann, of the Keene Planning Department, for supplying us
with the Keene parcel data from which we based most of our maps. Also, thank you to Medard
Kopczynski, Assistant City Manager/Health Director of Keene, New Hampshire, for providing the
group with the Code Enforcements for the City of Keene. Additional appreciation to Laura
Thibodeau, CNHA, City Assessor, for supplying assessed values for property parcels. Great
thanks to Dr. Andrew Robinson, Vice President of Student Affairs at Keene State College, for
taking the time to meet with us and providing information pertinent to the college’s growth
rate and student living. Thank you Cristi Carson, from the Office of Institutional Research at
Keene State College, for all of the factual information pertaining to the college and as well as
KSC college demographics retained from previous years from the Keene State College Fact
Books. We greatly appreciate Sherry Huntley from KSC Registrars office for providing off-
campus student housing locations. Additional thanks to our Senior Seminar class, it has been a
pleasure meeting and working with all of you! To anyone we may have missed, your help with
making this project a success was not dismissed. Thank you.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Figures v
List of Tables vi
Central Questions 2
Neighborhood Contextualized 6
Neighborhood Change 7
College Towns 10
Student Behavior 11
Physical Characteristics of Student Housing 14
Location of Keene, New Hampshire 15
Keene State College Background 17
Southeast Keene Neighborhood Change 19
Response to Change 21
LIST OF FIGURES
1. Southeast Keene Neighborhood 3
2. Stages of Neighborhood Change 8
3. Demographic distribution shown in Percentages 17
4. Total Fall Headcount Student Enrollment , Years 2001-2007 18
5. Survey Responses Pertaining to KSC’s Perceived Value to the Community 18
6. Number of families per Household 2001 to 2008 20
7. Student Households in Southeast Keene Neighborhood 21
8. Building Code Violations 24
9. Locations of Surveyed Residents 28
10. Surveys Being Distributed 29
11. Total Months of Residency for non-students and students 34
12. Housing Assessment Properties 40
13. Assessed Housing Externalities 41
14. Assessed Parking Conditions 42
15. Negative Items on Properties 42
16. Student and Non-Student Housing 44
LIST OF TABLES
1. Keene New Hampshire 5 Largest Businesses 16
2. Correlation Between Satisfaction Levels and Relationship with Neighbors 35
3. Keene, New Hampshire Property Values 2001 to 2008 38
This study has illuminated a wealth of information regarding the social and physical implications
of Keene State College students living off campus in Keene, New Hampshire. Drawing on
secondary research; this study has provided context in order to understand the concepts of
‘town and gown’ relationships. Primary research has revealed several significant social and
physical differences between the two major demographics of study, students and non-student
residents. Students have been categorized as being generally unconcerned with the social fiber
or physical condition of their neighborhood. Students generally do not feel as connected to the
community as do local residents. Local residents tend to view student housing, and students in
general, as having negative connotations and detrimental effects on their neighborhood. Spatial
trends have been identified in student housing and displayed using Geographic Information
Systems. It is predictable that student housing is going to increase in Southeast Keene as well as
the entire city. If nothing is done to rectify this situation, the social fabric that makes up
Southeast Keene may continue to deteriorate. Southeast Keene may become like other student
dominated areas of the city and other cities where rental housing is predominant. This will
force stable residential neighborhoods further from downtown Keene which is one of the most
valued aspects of the neighborhood. Drawing on past studies of neighborhood decline and
successful neighborhood revitalization efforts; this study concludes with an outlook to the
future of Southeast Keene.
Neighborhoods exist in every town and city and all neighborhoods experience change
over time. These changes are caused by a multitude of reasons and are manifested with many
different characteristics. Neighborhood lifecycles are generally thought of in two terms, decline
or revitalization. This is a case study of Keene, New Hampshire (NH) where a demographic shift
is taking place and changing the neighborhoods that are valued by local residents. The
demographic shift of focus is the increasing presence of 18-24 year old males and females. The
increase in this age group can be attributed to the presence of Keene State College which is
home to 5,443 students; 40 percent of whom do not live on campus (2007 data). This remaining
40 percent of the student population either commutes from an outside town or city or lives
within the community. Students living off campus are having an effect on the areas in which
they live and an effect on the residents among whom they live. This study is a spatial analysis of
a specific neighborhood in Keene which is currently experiencing change attributed to the
effects of student housing. The neighborhood in question is referred to as Southeast Keene.
The term Southeast Keene should be thought of as a general area without definite borders. The
neighborhood can generally be demarcated by city streets. The northern edge of the
neighborhood is bounded by Water Street to the North; to the East by Grove and Marlboro
Street; to the South by State Route 101 and to the West by Main Street (Figure 1).
First, this study provides a definition of the term neighborhood as it is contextualized in
this study and other studies. Any analysis of a neighborhood cannot be completed without a
functional definition of the term because it can have different meanings in different contexts.
Why are student households of concern? To answer this question, an analysis of common
concerns residents have with student housing is provided, along with an analysis of student
lifestyles and common features associated with student households and student occupied
This study intends to provide a spatial analysis of the trends in student housing patterns;
specifically, why are students living off campus and where in the neighborhood are they living?
This study will gauge attitudes of residents as to the impact students have on their
neighborhood and their lives. This study will attempt to identify what effects, if any, living in
close proximity to student households have on residents, of Southeast Keene.
A series of spatial and statistical trends are expected to become evident through this
study. Using survey results through primary data collection, it is probable that residents who
live in closest proximity to student households will have significantly lower satisfaction rates as
well as poorer reported relationships with their neighbors. It is expected that residents in close
proximity to student households will report contacting the police, about disturbances in their
neighborhood, more so than other residents. It is likely that residents who have lived in the
neighborhood for the longest periods of time will have likely seen the largest amount of change
within their neighborhood. A correlation can be expected between length of residency and
satisfaction levels, negative student impacts, and police contacts. Residents and students in the
neighborhood will rate different aspects of their neighborhood much differently when it comes
to issues such as, litter, traffic, safety, substance abuse, and property values. Residents will be
prone to having much stronger opinions about these matters. Using data collected with a
housing quality assessment; student properties will likely have more maintenance issues that
owner occupied housing units. Using City Planning data, it is expected that Southeast Keene’s
property values have increased less when compared to the city averages from the years 2001 to
2008. Multifamily housing units are also likely to have significantly increased in the
neighborhood from 2001 to 2008.
Any analysis of a neighborhood must take into account the fact that neighborhoods
have ambiguous borders and are difficult to define. Neighborhoods are not demarcated by
street signs, they cannot be found on road maps, they are not solely government jurisdictions,
school districts, or voting districts. Neighborhoods may be defined differently by people who
live within the same city block. One such definition describes neighborhoods as clusters of
residents with similar spatially based attributes (Galster 2001). This is an accurate definition in
that neighborhoods are spatial groupings of people, but it implies that any residential grouping
of people can be considered a neighborhood, from the largest city to the smallest town. That
definition can be problematic because neighborhoods are subsections of larger communities
(Sampson et al. 2000). Neighborhoods are often informally recognized dividers that exist in
larger urban areas. Residents of these areas feel a stronger connection to the smaller area in
which they live than the city as a whole (Logan and Collver 1984).
Neighborhoods, however, are not solely spatial groupings of people in close proximity to
one another. Defining neighborhoods in solely spatial terms disregards the social dynamic that
makes up the fabric neighborhoods. Neighborhoods should be thought of as an area that can
expand and shrink depending on contexts and personal experiences of those who live there
(Sastry et al. 2002). The amorphous nature of neighborhoods is displayed well in a study that
employs statistics to gauge peoples’ perceptions of their neighborhood. This study involved 612
residents of Nashville, Tennessee, who were surveyed as to the limits of their neighborhood as
measured in city blocks. The average perceived size was 19.1 city blocks; the standard
deviation, however, was more than three times that magnitude at 71.1 city blocks (Lee 2001).
This displays the vast discrepancy in the range of peoples’ perceptions of scale pertaining to
neighborhoods. Neighborhoods exist in the attitudes and social connections of the residents in
the community. In other studies, neighborhoods have been categorized solely in demographic
terms. This means that people will more closely identify with neighbors and neighborhoods that
are composed of people who are racially, economically, and close in age, to themselves
(Banerjee and Baer 1984; Logan and Collver 1984; Lee and Campbell 1997). If people will form
bonds more easily with people of similar demographics then it is feasible that neighborhoods
can be perceived along demographic boundaries. This means that communities with similar
demographics will likely have a higher level of neighborhood cohesion and can more easily
distinguish the limits of their own neighborhood.
Neighborhoods have lifecycles much like living organisms. Unlike living organisms,
however, neighborhoods do not follow a set path of growth, decline and eventual death like
organisms. Neighborhoods can decline and revitalize many times with no death or end
occurring (Figure 2).
Stable neighborhood; Long
term residency, strong
community ties, high home Stable neighborhood;
ownership, high income. Young families, high
...stable property values, income, strong community
ties, high ownership rates.
Minor Decline; Out
migration, minor physical
increase in rental
home ownership rates, Low
crime rates, strong
Obvious decline; Increased
rental housing, physical
deterioration is evident and Full revitalization efforts;
unattended to. Rising crime Strong community
and vandalism. organization, strong public
and private investment in
properties and housing.
Predominantly rental housing,
very low average income, most Revitalizing neighborhood;
housing units require major Properties are being
repairs, high crime rates. renovated; public and private
spaces are beginning
residents, housing units Early revitalization; Community
dilapidated, very high crime groups are formed, government
rates, housing assistance available, police are
active in response to slum-like
High vacancy rates.
Figure 2 Stages of Neighborhood Change
It has been hypothesized that friendships and local acquaintances increase social
cohesion and a person’s level of commitment to a neighborhood (Sampson 1991). When people
feel connected to their neighbors and neighborhood a very stable community develops. Stable
neighborhoods have many different characteristics that separate them from other
neighborhoods and make them very desirable places in which to live. In a stable neighborhood
residents tend to have lived there for a long time, there is little outmigration of residents and
little or no transient population. Properties tend to be well maintained in stable neighborhoods
as people tend to take more pride in their homes and properties which encourages other
residents to follow suit and keep up with maintenance (Doran and Lees 2005). In a stable
neighborhood; the majority of residents live in owner occupied single family homes and the
neighborhood has a high average income relative to the surrounding communities (Metzger
When residents begin to feel little connection with their neighbors, people will have
little connection to their neighborhood. This lack of social integration often results in
neighborhood decline; a physical and social deterioration of a neighborhood. When
neighborhoods decline several common characteristics occur. Out migration occurs; long time
residents will move to more desirable communities. During decline stages, rental properties
become more prevalent. Crime rates rise and lower income residents move into the
neighborhood. Renters and low-income home owners often cannot or do not maintain their
properties as do higher income residents (Baxter and Laurie 2002; Lucy and Phelps 2000).
Homes and properties become run-down and litter and garbage become evident and
unattended to; abandonment is also common at this lowest stage of decline (Skogan 1990).
The relationship between college students and local residents, in urban areas where a
college or university exists, has been referred to as ‘town-gown’ relations (Gumprecht 2003;
Kenyon 1997; Nichols 1990). Town-gown relationships and strains are not unique to
contemporary institutes of higher education. Clashes, sometimes violent, have been recorded
back to medieval London, England, where Oxford and Cambridge students often clashed with
local residents (Kenyon 1997; Mansfield 1993). Early American educational institutes dealt with
similar issues when Yale students violently clashed with local New Haven firefighters in the
early 19th century (Nichols 1990). More recently these troubles persist; a dispute over access to
public space took place in Boulder, Colorado, between local youths and University of Colorado
students. A large brawl broke out leaving one student seriously injured (Staeheli 1997). College
students are accompanied by a lifestyle and culture that is unique to the urban environment.
One fundamental difference that exists is the transient nature of college students. College
students traditionally spend four years at a college while earning a bachelor’s degree.
However, students rarely spend the entire four years in one urban setting. The academic
calendar year is littered with vacations and breaks between semesters when students often
return to their hometowns. In Southeast Keene, students have been residents for a significantly
less amount of time compared to home owning residents. Surveyed students have an average
length of residency of less than one year, (11.6 months) whereas surveyed homeowners have
an average residency of 17.2 years. As a result, students do not feel the same level connection
to an area as do the residents who have lived in an area for an extended period of time because
the length of residency tends to correlate to the level of connection to a residential area
(Sampson 1991). Student housing patterns shift yearly and even monthly; making the
neighborhoods in which they live considerably less stable. Neighbors tend not to interact with
neighbors who are considered temporary, which disrupts the social cohesion of the
neighborhood (Kenyon 1997).
Student behaviors can indubitably have negative effects on neighborhoods. Substance
abuse among college students is prevalent. Substance abuse is characterized by
overindulgence in and dependence on drugs and or alcohol leading to effects detrimental to an
individual’s mental and physical welfare (Gahlinger 2004). Studies reveal that college students
tend to consume alcohol at a greater rate than do many other demographics. An ongoing
concern of many college administrations is how to respond to student alcohol consumption.
Some argue that tough campus alcohol restrictions will reduce consumption. However, tough
drinking rules often drive alcohol consumption off campus and into surrounding communities
which leads to many concerned local residents. Many parents become concerned with the
younger populations’ exposure to the negative effects of alcohol abuse. A recent study was
conducted to estimate the number of alcohol consumers by age group per state. For the state
of New Hampshire, an estimated 98,000 individuals were characterized as consuming more
than five alcoholic beverages per week (National Center for Health Statistics 2005). According
to the national alcohol and drug abuse association, a drink is considered to be one twelve
ounce beer, one eight ounce glass of wine, wine cooler, or a one ounce shot of liquor (Gahlinger
2003). Drawing on survey results, 53.1 percent of surveyed homeowners report alcohol abuse
being evident. Similar studies suggest that a third of college students consume more alcohol
than is safe, which constitutes alcohol abuse (Sells and Robson 1998). This reinforces literature
contending that alcohol has significant effects on neighborhoods (Sampson et al 2002).
Comprehensive community interventions that bring several departments of city
government together with concerned private citizens or organizations have been shown to
reduce drinking or alcohol related problems (Hingson 1998). On college campuses, efforts to
identify and change the behavior of high risk drinking have taken root at many institutions
across the United States. For these intervention and prevention plans to succeed, complete
agreement from campus officials and community members is mandatory. It is feasible that
stringent campus policies drive drinkers into the community.
Underage drinking brings with it many other complications. Aside from mental and
physical damage, overindulgence in alcohol can result in fatal motor vehicle crashes, drowning,
homicide, suicide, and or alcohol and drug related overdoses to name a few (Gahlinger 2003).
According to a recent report on alcohol statistics, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death
in the United States for people younger than age twenty–five (Hingson 1998). Although laws
prohibiting sale and provision of alcohol to minors have reduced alcohol related traffic deaths,
many students report receiving alcohol from family members and friends. Minor complications
arise from drinking such as missing class, incomplete homework assignments, and hangovers to
name a few. Difficulty meeting academic responsibilities is one of the most common
consequences of alcohol use among college students.
Another study suggests that two in five college students are considered ‘binge-drinkers’
meaning they consume considerably more alcohol than is considered healthy (Wechsler et al.
2002). Binge drinking is distinguished as males consuming more than five drinks in one sitting
and females consuming more than four drinks in one sitting. In the early 1990’s binge drinking
gained national recognition as the number one public health problem affecting college students
(Robson and Sell 1998). Statistics also show that on nearly any college campus, 70 percent of
the student body participates in binge drinking. Out of that 70 percent, nearly half of them
binge more than once a week. Nearly half of the college binge drinkers have five or more
alcohol-related problems on campus. They may be caught by authorities, or they may partake
in vandalism and other destructive and violent acts (Brower and Carroll 2007; Copeland 2003).
College students give many reasons as to why they partake in excessive drinking. Many explain
how alcohol enhances social activity, allows people to have more fun, breaks the ice, facilitates
connection with peers, and makes it easier to deal with stress (Robson and Sell 1998). For many
students, college represents their first experiences away from home and away from adult
supervision, hence experimentation with alcohol and drugs is an acceptable behavior among
peers at most college campuses.
Physical Characteristics of Student Housing
College students bring with them many physical characteristics that carry negative
connotations and promote a negative view of students in the community. A premier
characteristic concerning residents is student housing. With an influx of student residents
comes an influx of rental properties. Many people see the student migration as an economic
opportunity to turn residential homes into rental properties (Gopal 2008). These landlords and
students have very little incentive to maintain their properties at a high quality often to the
dismay of their neighbors. Dilapidated rental properties are often viewed as having a negative
influence on the property values of the surrounding structures. Poor housing and property
quality can tend to have similar spiraling negative effects on the surrounding properties.
Negative externalities can spread to other properties as residents notice the lack of their
neighbors general maintenance efforts can affect the maintenance of ones own property
(Doran and Lees 2006). There are also safety concerns of unmaintained properties. Many do
not like the idea of students living in unsafe conditions, and those safety concerns can spread to
surrounding properties, such as fires. Unmaintained and unsecure housing can also invite
burglaries and other criminal activity associated with student housing (Kenyon 1997).
Keene, New Hampshire
Keene is located in southern New Hampshire, geographically situated centrally in
Cheshire County, which in total includes 23 towns. Among the more predominantly known
towns of Cheshire County are Keene, Jaffrey, Dublin and Alstead. Cheshire County is also one of
the ten counties that comprise New Hampshire (Mensch 2001). The average income per
household in 2004 for New Hampshire residents is $57,352.00, whereas the average income for
Keene residents was $49,935. There exist a large number of non-family households in Keene. In
1999, 758 non-family household made less than $10,000. This is significantly lower than the
average income for Keene residents. It is very likely that many of these non-family/low income
households are occupied by students.
The largest economic factors pertaining to the City of Keene are related to business and
employment. Keene has a labor force of 14,032 people. Table 1 provides the five largest
employers of Keene of which Keene State College ranks number three with, 707 current
employees (US Census Bureau). By providing over 700 people with jobs, KSC is obviously
economically valuable to the city of Keene (New Hampshire Employment 2007). The economic
impact of Keene State College has created many additional jobs to residents of Cheshire
County. During the fiscal year 2005, Keene State College bought nearly 28 million dollars worth
of goods and services, and provided more than 557 jobs to residents of Cheshire County
(Carson 2006). As the economic growth of Keene persists into the 2000’s, Keene State College
continues to expand its campus as the Keene State College enrollments likewise increases.
Table 1 Keene New Hampshire 5 Largest Businesses
5 Largest Businesses in Keene, NH Product/Service Employees Established
Cheshire Medical Center Healthcare 1,500 1892
C & S Wholesale Grocers Wholesale Food 820 2004
Keene State College Education 707 1909
Keene School District Education 690 *varies
Mini & Precision
TimKen Super Precision 632 N/A
*Varies- Different schools in Keene were established at different periods of time.
The population for Keene as of 2000, was 22,563, but increased to 22,893 people by
2007. Population density for Keene is 609 people per square mile. Figure 3 represents the age
structure of Keene. The largest populations are present in the age groups 15-19 and 20-24, in
comparison to all other age groups. This undoubtedly reflects the demographic impact of Keene
Figure 3 Demographic distribution shown in percentages.
Keene State College Background
Presently, a total of 5,443 full time and part time students including undergraduate,
graduate and continuing education students attend Keene State College. The community of
Keene State College is made up of mostly females, which encompass 3,124 females and the
males with 2,319. On average, the age of undergraduates that attend Keene State College is 21,
with the average number of first-year students being 18. Since 2005, Keene State College has
been accepting an increasing number of students each Fall semester (Figure 4). As the college
accepts an increasing number of students, the demand for housing similarly increases. With
limited on-campus housing capabilities and the soaring freshman enrollment, junior and senior
students are pursuing off-campus housing, predominately in nearby residential neighborhoods
Figure 4 Total Fall Headcount Student Enrollment, Years 2001-2007.
Despite concerns of some in the neighborhood, 41.5 percent of residents surveyed in
Southeast of Keene, strongly agreed that “there can be no doubt that Keene State (college) is
one of the most valuable facilities in the city and to the southwestern region of N.H. as well.”
(Figure 5). Figure 5 was compiled from survey data which was produced to gauge the perceived
importance of Keene State College to the city and region. The percent gradually increases as the
highest percentages of neighborhood residents strongly agree that Keene State College is a
valuable commodity to the community.
Figure 5 Survey Responses Pertaining to KSC’s Perceived Value to the Community.
Southeast Keene Neighborhood Change
It is difficult to determine exactly what stage of change neighborhoods are currently
experiencing. Different parts of a city can be experiencing different neighborhood changes
simultaneously. One area can be declining while another revitalizing through different social
actions and private or public investment. Southeast Keene is experiencing changes in
demography manifested by students moving into the neighborhood. Some people view a rising
student population as an economic opportunity and capitalize on it by making previously single
family homes rentable to college students (Gopal 2008). In Southeast Keene many homes have
been converted from single family units to double or triple family homes in recent years (Figure
6). This would suggest that Southeast Keene is experiencing Stage Two or Three of
neighborhood decline. Using data from the City of Keene Department of Assessment, Figure 6
displays the increased conversion of single family homes to multiple family dwellings from the
year 2001 to 2008. Notice the western portion of the 2008 map; the high density of multifamily
homes increased drastically from 2001. This area is also in the closest proximity to Keene State
College and is home to many student households as evidenced by mapping data from the office
of the Registrar at Keene State College (Figure 7). The City of Keene is also taking steps to
preserve the residential neighborhoods of the city. The city previously set forth an ordinance to
cut back on fraternities and large multiple occupancy off-campus housing units. This is a
primary characteristic of declining neighborhoods (Pacione 2001).
Figure 6 Number of families per Household 2001 to 2008
Figure 7 Student Households in Southeast Keene Neighborhood
Responses to Change
It is also feasible that Southeast Keene residents and city officials take steps to begin
revitalizing the neighborhood, or at least stop or slow decline. The formation of the Southeast
Keene Neighborhood Group is a primary indicator or revitalization efforts. Social efficacy at the
local level is often the most powerful tool residents have in improving or maintaining their
quality of life (Sampson 1991; Bright 2000). The Southeast Keene Neighborhood Group was
originated with the intention of mobilizing the neighborhood against the effects of students
moving into the community. The Southeast Keene Neighborhood Group website provides a
brief description of the purpose of the group, “We are a committed group of Keene, NH
residents trying to maintain the quality of life in our Southeast Keene neighborhood”
(Southeast Keene Neighborhood Group 2008). In 2007 the group started meeting monthly, on
every second Tuesday to discuss the neighborhood’s positive and negative aspects. There are
currently 36 registered members in the Southeast Keene Neighborhood Group, website. When
visiting the Southeast Keene Neighborhood Group online, members of the group post forums
on the quality and satisfaction levels and important information that is occurring in their
The City of Keene is taking steps to reverse or stop the decline of residential
neighborhoods. A city wide ordinance states that no more than four occupants with different
last names can take up residence in the same dwelling. Similar ordinances have been passes in
other college towns in response to student housing crises (Gumprecht 2003). This ordinance
was in part a response to large fraternity houses and off-campus student dwellings that were
considered a nuisance (Kopczynski 2008). The ordinance may have stopped large house parties
which are of concern to city officials and residents. The ordinance, however, also forced
students to disperse into residential neighborhoods in search of housing. This particular step
may have partially rectified one aspect of decline. Large parties and general disorder are
associated with fraternity houses, but it may have inadvertently exacerbated other
characteristics of decline by increasing housing demand and in turn catalyzing the increase of
rental properties. The City Council is also currently attempting to pass a series of ordinances
that will hold renters and landlords, more accountable for the conditions of their properties.
This ordinance would require a registration of all rental properties to make it easier to identify
the properties that are problematic.
The City of Keene Code Enforcement Department (KCED) has implemented a series of
ordinances in order to rectify the physical characteristics of neighborhood decline. This
department oversees many aspects of public and private development and maintenance. It is
through KCED that many maintenance issues are addressed by city officials. Owners of homes
can be held accountable for the general condition and maintenance of their properties. Many
cities have similar departments and with similar guidelines to encourage the upkeep of
privately owned properties. These ordinances were specifically proposed to deal the increasing
number of student properties which are subject to many violations under current code
enforcement ordinances (Figure 8). The properties highlighted signify reported code violations;
the parcels represented by red signify code enforcement violations taking place at student-
occupied households. Even though student households do not make up the majority of the
neighborhood their households tend to carry a disproportionately high number of cases, over
Figure 8 Building Code Violations
The KCED is working currently trying to come up with a solution to the problems posed
by student households. Keene is attempting to implement more stringent ordinances for
student occupied housing. Keene City officials have contacted other New Hampshire
municipalities in an attempt to better understand how the towns of Durham, Hanover,
Plymouth, and Rindge (all home to colleges or universities of differing sizes) have dealt with the
issue of student housing. All four of these towns have attempted to enact similar regulations
but have not succeeded and all have expressed interest in what direction the City of Keene will
take in addressing the student housing issue. If these proposed ordinances are passed in Keene,
the new efforts will include increased fines, violation based registration of student households,
and a ‘Party House’ designation. The ‘Party House’ designation would identify and fine houses
that habitually cause disturbances to the public; whether they are noise, structural, or general
disorder issues (Kopczynski 2008).
Keene State College is also taking action in an attempt to minimize the detrimental
effects students have on the community. One step is the attempt to stabilize the college’s
enrollment. A recent influx of students caught the administration off-guard when a greater,
than expected, number of accepted students decided to attend KSC. This caused an on-campus
housing shortage and forced many upperclassmen off-campus and into rentals recently
converted from single family use. The school employs a full-time police officer who acts as a
liaison between campus officials and the police department. The school has also recently
entered into an agreement with the town to pay for municipal services that are associated with
the college and college students. An estimated 20 percent of all emergency calls in Keene are
associated with KSC students. Therefore, the college has agreed to pay for 20 percent of the
emergency response cost in an attempt to alleviate the strain KSC is causing the city. This bill
will amount to over one million dollars over the next four years (Robinson 2008; Palermo 2008).
Primary data collection is one of the most important aspects of social science research.
Surveys represent one of the most common types of quantitative, social science research (Fink
2003). Primary data can be collected in many different ways. For this study, two primary data
collection methods were employed in order to obtain the necessary information to provide
meaningful statistical analysis or social and physical aspects of the neighborhood and its
residents. First, a survey was developed to obtain data from residents regarding their attitudes
and opinions regarding the neighborhood. The second tool used was a housing assessment,
designed to assess the physical structure of homes and the general condition of the property.
Survey research can take many forms; questionnaires or surveys are usually physically
distributed to respondents, these can be distributed by hand or through the mail. Other forms
of survey research can be online questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, or telephone
interviews. Using surveys, it is possible to collect data from large or small populations. The two
most popular forms of survey research are questionnaires and personal interviews. Surveying
provides imperative information in understanding the concerns, characteristics and
demographics of a certain control group. Initial planning of the survey design and survey
questions is extremely important in conducting survey research. The process of selecting the
appropriate survey method begins with examining different types of techniques and
determining which one is best suited for obtaining the information pertinent to the research
questions at hand. Surveys must be designed with careful consideration to ensure that
respondents can clearly interpret and respond to each question and provide useful and
meaningful response. It often requires tremendous time and effort critiquing each question
making sure it is vital to the survey and relevant to the overall study. Surveys are designed to
give a better understanding of the concerns and general feelings of the respondents (Weisberg
For this research project, the decision was made that as many residents as possible in
the Southeast neighborhood would be asked to participate in a door-to-door survey (Figure 9).
In order to assure the survey was free from error; several surveys were distributed to the
Southeast Neighborhood Group, which meets monthly in the Keene Public Library. Because this
group is concerned with the same objectives as the project at hand, they were ideal candidates
for a pretrial of the survey. These pilot surveys identified some structural issues that were
rectified before the final product was distributed to the public.
Researchers distributed the survey in Southeast Keene on three different occasions. The
first survey was administered on a weekday afternoon because most children are home from
school at that time, and a parent would likely be home. The first day yielded fifteen completed
surveys. The second attempt of administering surveys took place on a Saturday morning when
families were likely to be home. Streets in close proximity to Baker Street were the focus area
of this survey distribution. A total of sixteen surveys were collected. Similar to the first day of
surveying, the third trial of surveying took place on a Thursday afternoon. Marlboro Street and
the adjoining streets were the main focus of this distribution in which nineteen surveys were
collected. The third day of sampling yielded more surveys completed by students who rent
opposed to the first two distributions which produced mostly homeowners (Figure 10).
Figure 9 Locations of Surveyed Residents
Figure 10 Surveys being distributed
Additional surveys were handed out by different individuals of the group as well as by
the Professor facilitating the project. Each resident was approached with the same
questionnaire in hopes that everyone would agree to filling out the survey. The majority of
residents were willing to take part in the study and seemed interested in the goings-on in the
neighborhood. Many residents seemed eager to voice their concerns and attitudes regarding
the state of their neighborhood. The final outcome resulted in a total of 65 completed surveys
from 332 residential households in the neighborhood.
The layout of the survey was a two sided questionnaire containing issues deemed
pertinent to the community and its resident’s daily lives (Appendix A). A brief introduction at
the top of the survey states its purpose and clarifies how it will be used to gain a better
understanding of the concerns residents are experiencing. The first two questions identify
respondents according to gender and whether the respondent is a renter or owner. The
purpose of these questions is to divide respondents into groups in order to detect statistical
trends that may occur. Employing the Likert Scale; the next two questions were asked to
determine respondents overall satisfaction levels as well as determining whether satisfaction
levels were increasing, decreasing, staying the same, or no opinion. The Likert Scale is a
measurement scale used in research, which assigns numerical value for multiple answers given
on a survey (Fink 2003). Answers are given on a scale ranging from complete agreement on
one side to complete disagreement on the other side, with no opinion in the middle. For this
particular question a four-point differential Likert scale was implemented because it is a scale
with an even number of points with no mid-point forcing respondents to make a clear, concise
choice (Fink 2003).
The next section of the survey dealt with specific aspects of life within Southeast Keene.
Residents were asked to rate their attitudes regarding litter, violation of traffic laws, sidewalk
conditions, safety, alcohol and or drug abuse, and recent changes in property values. Using a
five-point Likert scale consisting of the categories: strongly agree, somewhat agree, no opinion,
somewhat disagree, and strongly disagree, residents rated their attitude on the various topics.
The responses of these questions will be used in statistical analysis to identify and examine
trends that occur within and in between each grouping variable.
The reverse side of the survey identifies the respondent as either a Keene State College
student or not. The subsequent questions determine the perceived effects associated with
college students in the neighborhood. Using a five-point Likert scale, respondents answered
what type of impact Keene State students have on the neighborhood given the choices of
‘strong positive, positive, neutral, negative, and strong negative impact’. This was designed to
make conclusions on whether there is a correlation between non-students and negative
opinions about the neighborhood. Individuals were also asked to identify the proximity in
which they live to college students. They had the choice of classifying themselves as immediate
neighbors, two to three houses away, four or greater houses away, or not in close proximity.
This is a vital question to ask because the distance residents live from students may have direct
influences their opinions positively or negatively. Individuals were then asked, in the past five
years or since taking up residency in the neighborhood, whether or not they had noticed an
increase in the number of college students living in the neighborhood. Residents then had the
option of stating if they have ever had to call the Police to respond to a disturbance and if so
how many times.
The concluding questions of the survey implemented the four-point Likert scale by
asking residents to rate their relationship with neighbors. They had the option of rating their
relationship as either poor, fair, good, or excellent. Following this question, residents were
asked to rate their level of agreement with a past neighborhood assessment of Keene. The past
assessment stated: “there can be no doubt that Keene State (College) is one of the most
valuable facilities in the City and to the Southwestern region of N.H. as well.” With the aid of a
five-point Likert scale, respondents were able to classify whether they strongly agreed,
somewhat agreed, had no opinion, somewhat disagreed, or strongly disagreed with the
statement. As a conclusion to the survey, respondents were asked to complete sentences
describing the best and worst thing about their neighborhood.
Drawing on data collected from the survey, several statistical trends were identified
regarding residents’ attitudes regarding their neighborhood. The two primary groups surveyed
were student residents and non-student residents. This group was nearly evenly surveyed. Of
the surveyed population, 46.2 percent were current Keene State College students and 53.8
percent were local residents. Ownership and rental rates followed this trend, as zero percent of
students reported owning a home, while 90.4 percent of non-student respondents are
homeowners. The survey was also designed to detect trends differentiated by gender, 63
percent of respondents were male and 37 percent were female.
As expected, the non-student population has a significantly longer term of residency
than do students. No students report having lived in the neighborhood for longer than three
years. At 11.6 months, the average term of residency for students is under one year, while the
average term of residency for non-students is 17.2 years. This is unquestionably affected by one
significant outlier, a resident of 60 years. This range displays a vast discrepancy for two
populations with near equal numbers (Figure 11). This displays the transient nature of college
students within the neighborhood. As mentioned in Chapter 2; length of residency is a primary
indicator in a resident’s level of commitment to a neighborhood (Sampson 1991). This
difference displays a primary difference existing between respondent groups. A person who has
lived in the neighborhood for a short period of time will have much different perspectives
regarding neighborhood change.
Non-student residents, on average, have a decreasing level of satisfaction whereas
student resident’s average level of satisfaction is more stable. Just over 37 percent of home-
owners report their neighborhood satisfaction level as decreasing. This is in stark contrast to
student respondents, 86.7 percent of which feel their satisfaction levels are staying the same or
increasing. This difference can be attributed to the non-student’s length of residency (Figure
11). It is plausible that the longer residents have lived in the neighborhood, the larger the
amount of change they have witnessed. It is also plausible that the influx of student households
can exacerbate the declining satisfaction levels of non-student residents. To examine this
question, a Correlation test was run to determine any relationship, if any, dropping satisfaction
levels have with the perceived influx of students. A correlation test measures the level of
association between two spatial variables (McGrew and Monroe 2000). The results of this test
returned significant results at the .066 level. This presents a cause of concern for the future of
satisfaction levels of residents if students continue to move into the area. This also signifies
some characteristic attitudes and sentiments associated with the early stages of neighborhood
Non-Students KSC Students
Figure 11 Total Months of Residency for Non-students and Students
When asked to compare the quality of life of their neighborhood to other
neighborhoods within Keene, students and non students again showed a significant difference
in sentiments. Students, overwhelmingly, believed the average quality of life was significantly
higher than other neighborhoods. Non-student respondents were more likely to believe their
neighborhood was equal to other neighborhoods in Keene. This difference of means occurs at
the .006 significance level this represents a statistically significant difference in average
attitudes between students and non-student residents. If friendships and local acquaintances
increase residents connection to a neighborhood (Sampson 1991) than it can be expected that
neighborhood satisfaction levels will increase if survey respondents report good relationships
with their neighbors. Satisfaction levels have a very significant positive correlation to reported
relationships with neighbors; it is again statistically significant at the .01 level (Table 2).
Table 2 Correlation Between Satisfaction Levels and Relationships with Neighbors
Satisfaction Neighbor Relations
Spearman's rho Satisfaction Correlation Coefficient 1.000 .453
Sig. (2-tailed) . .000
N 65 65
Neighbor Correlation Coefficient .453 1.000
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .
N 65 65
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
This survey was designed to gauge respondents’ level of concern regarding several
different aspects of neighborhood life. The results of this portion of the survey have identified
several more significant differences in student and non-student sentiments regarding their
neighborhood. Non-student residents are more concerned with litter and garbage in their
neighborhood. Likewise, when asked to respond to traffic concerns, students are significantly
less concerned with drivers obeying traffic laws than non-student residents. While some
residents report being very unsatisfied with sidewalks in their neighborhood, no significant
difference exists between students and non-students. This portion of the survey returned
results that indicate student respondents generally have no opinion about traffic or public
space in their neighborhood. This statistic speaks to the general apathy students are
categorized as having.
A primary factor in people’s perceptions of a stable neighborhood is safety, residents
feel little connection to an area in which they do not feel safe (Doran and Lees 2005; Saunders
1999). All respondents of this survey report feeling safe in their homes. However, non-students
do report feeling less safe than do students when walking at in the neighborhood at night. This
difference in the perception of safety is largely insignificant both demographics generally agree
on the feeling of safety. This implies that residents of Southeast Keene still view their
neighborhood as a safe place to live. This is a promising statistic that reflects a positive aspect
of Southeast Keene recognized by both students and local residents.
As identified above, many statistically significant differences exist between student and
non student residents. However, very few differences occur between genders. Non-student
resident females report very similar sentiments as their male counterparts regarding their
neighborhood. Some differences that do occur on a significant level pertain to traffic. Female
residents report a higher rate of dissatisfaction in regards to drivers’ compliance with traffic
regulations. Another significant gender difference that occurs regards the perceived impact
Keene State College students have on the neighborhood. Males tend to believe students have a
more positive impact than do females which is significant at the .006 level. This trend
corresponds with the question asking respondents to rate Keene State College’s value to the
City of Keene. Males tend to view KSC as a more valuable entity to the city than do females.
This significance also occurs at the .006 level.
Property values are often assessed in order to gauge the condition or stability of a
neighborhood. Stable property values often indicate a stable and healthy neighborhood
whereas decreasing property values are a principle factor in neighborhood decline. When
property values begin to decline a host of other negative characteristics of decline soon follow.
Outmigration among former residents becomes prevalent, lower income residents move to the
neighborhood, rental housing increases, and crime rates rise (Metzger 2000; Skogan 1990). Due
to these effects; it is no surprise that property values are of chief concern to homeowners.
Keene is no exception, when surveyed; homeowners report their property values have recently
dropped due to changes in their neighborhood. When asked to gauge their own property
values, 80 percent of surveyed students had no opinion on the matter.
While many homeowners believe their property value has declined, property values
have increased in the entire City of Keene since 2001. If homeowner’s concerns can be justified
or accurate; property values in Southeast Keene will have increased less than the city as a
whole since 2001. However, the perceived decrease in property values is inaccurate. Residential
property values in Southeast Keene have increased at a greater rate when compared to the
entire city (Table 3). This seems to contradict the neighborhood decline that a main focus of
this study. However, as previously stated (Figure 7), many homes in Keene have been converted
from one family to multiple unit homes in response to the increase in rental demand from 2001
to 2008. Multiple unit homes are more valuable on the housing market than single unit homes
especially when there is a steady demand for temporary housing as there is in Keene. The
increase in rental housing is a sign of neighborhood decline, but also represents added
economic value to properties. This economic value does not apply to the neighborhood. The
economic value exists only for the owner of the property who is personally capitalizing on
renting the property. In Southeast Keene, property values are not a reliable indicator of
Table 3 Keene, New Hampshire Property Values 2001 to 2008
2001 2008 Percent Increase
Keene $126,474 $223,731 76.8%
Southeast Keene $95,188 $182,995 92.2%
*City of Keene Department of Assessment Data
Drawing on data collected with the open response questions on the survey, some trends
became evident regarding respondents attitudes toward the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ aspects of their
neighborhood. The best quality of southeast Keene, as reported by residents, is its location.
Over forty percent of respondents cite Southeast Keene’s proximity to downtown as its ‘best’
feature. Nearly the same percentage of respondents report the ‘best’ aspect of their
neighborhood is their neighbors. Many of these respondents characterize their neighbors as
friendly and considerate. Location and social cohesiveness are two characteristics that are
common in all stable neighborhoods. The best aspects of Southeast Keene show no clear
distinction between student and non-students respondents. The majority of both groups value
the same aspects of their neighborhood. Other valued characteristics of the neighborhood
were its safety, proximity to schools, quietness, and cleanliness.
When asked to identify the ‘worst’ aspect about the neighborhood, there was a much
wider range of responses. These aspects differed widely between student and non-student
residents. Keene State College and Keene State College students were mentioned in some
fashion in nearly 20 percent of the responses regarding the worst aspect of the neighborhood.
However, these responses differed in their reasons. Even more unpopular than student
housing and poor student behavior however are housing issues. Over 30 percent of the worst
aspects of the neighborhood involve housing issues, including; increase in rental housing, high
turnover rates, disorder of rental properties, and unresponsive landlords. These are all issues
that predominantly concern the non-students populations. In the student population concerns
were much different. Many student respondents had nothing negative to report about their
neighborhood and simply left this portion of the survey blank. Again, outlining the apathy that
exists with students and their neighborhoods. Other aspects of the neighborhood concerning
students were the lack of parking, road conditions, and neighbors. Nearly 15 percent of student
respondents mentioned poor relations with their neighbors as the worst aspect of their
Housing Assessment Methodologies
For the housing quality assessment in Southeast Keene, two sample populations of
homes were selected from the neighborhood. The first population was comprised of local non-
student homes while the other sample consisted of known student addresses obtained from
the Keene State College Registrar’s office (Figure 12). In order to pick which houses were to be
analyzed, a random sampling number was generated in order to obtain a random starting point
for each population pool. It was determined that the starting point address for off campus
students was 38 South Street. Beginning with 38 South Street, every fifth student household
was assessed while skipping non-student households. The starting point for non-student
housing for non-student residents was 95 Adams Street and every fifth property was assessed
skipping known student households. Both focus groups were assessed by the same researcher
using an identical assessment tool for each population (Appendix B).
The housing quality assessment was implemented on two different occasions. The
initial day of evaluation was conducted on a weekday afternoon. The focus for the first day of
appraisal was non-student residents located in the Southeast neighborhood. The remaining
households were assessed the following weekend along with the completion of the entire
student household group. Assessment was completed by the same individual and was done so
by driving slowly by each house and critiquing from the road (Figure 12).
Figure 12 Housing Assessment Properties
Housing quality was evaluated on a scale from one to three. If an aspect of a house
scored a value of one, there were major problems, a score of two had minor problems, and a
score of three had no problems. To determine the overall quality and condition of the houses’
exteriors, there were five main points of focus for the housing assessment. The points of focus
included paint or exterior finishes, the condition of windows and doors, roof quality and
condition, porches and decks including railings and any steps (Figure 13).
Poorly Assessed Housing Characteristics
Broken and missing windows Major problems with paint and trim
Major problems with roof quality Major problems with paint and trim
Figure 13 Assessed Housing Externalities
The general parking condition was assessed for each selected house to determine if the
house had adequate parking. If houses had cars parked on the street or on the grass, parking
was considered inadequate. This section included any walkways or sidewalks that were present;
these were assessed according to their general condition and the presence or absence of cracks
or damage (Figure 14).
Assessed Parking Conditions
Cars parked on lawns in violation of city code enforcement
Figure 14 Assessed Parking Conditions
The final components graded were litter and/or garbage surrounding the house, the presence
of a dumpster, and general landscape maintenance (Figure 15).
Negative Externalities on Properties
Discarded mattress Discarded bicycle, ladders and litter
Dumpsters and litter
Figure 15 Negative Items on Properties
The Housing assessment also produced some statistical differences in the quality and
condition of housing in the neighborhood. The majority of student housing is of lower quality
than owner-occupied housing. The student housing sample population has an average quality
assessment of 2.5 on a three point scale. Owner-occupied housing scored a 2.819. This is not a
statistically significant difference in means but it is a trend in housing quality. Another
important trend to recognize is that owner-occupied housing scored slightly lower assessments
in areas where a high density of student housing is present. This solidifies the spiraling theories
of decay which state that disorder and decline will inevitably spread to the properties in close
proximity (Skogan 1990; Doran and Lees 2005). The poorly assessed homes tended to be
grouped together as did the more positively assessed homes.
Some specific difference occurred regarding the quality and condition of owner and
student occupied housing. Student Houses are significantly more apt to have a dumpster. This is
likely because many student houses are occupied by up to four adults who will produce much
more waste than other types of households. Also, many students are not residents of the City
of Keene and therefore do not have the same kind of access to city waste facilities. Most rental
properties include some kind of trash pickup for residents, and dumpsters represent the most
efficient process for waste removal with little regard to the perceptions associated with
dumpsters in residential neighborhoods.
Statistical significance was difficult to detect through this assessment. The differences
that did occur are visibly easy to discern (Figure 16). Some non-student properties are in
exceedingly poor condition. These homes threw off any statistical significance that would have
occurred. Assessing homes in smaller microcosms of the neighborhood could have returned
more significant differences between residential and student properties and areas.
Non-Student Housing Student Housing
Figure 16 Student and Non-student Housing.
As with many studies, principal limitations are associated with the design and
implementation of the survey instrument utilized in this study. One challenge experienced
while designing the survey was ensuring each question was applicable to both resident and
renter occupied households. Drawbacks were experienced when dispersing the surveys door-
to-door. As not all residents chose to participate in the survey, which in turn reduced the
amount of completed surveys used to run statistical tests and analyze results. Locating data
revealing the addresses of off-campus student households was problematic due to the fact that
not all students report their off campus addresses to the Keene State College Registrar’s Office,
while others do not allow their information to be publicly disseminated.
Additional limitations were experienced while conducting the housing assessment. The
standard by which houses are assessed in this study was somewhat subjective in that the
researchers have had no formal training in housing assessment. As previously mentioned, it
was not possible to obtain a complete and accurate list of student households. Therefore, some
of the non-student dwellings assessed may have housed student occupants. When mapping the
houses which were assessed in the Southeast neighborhood of Keene, the associated data file
did not provide a current listing of all properties that housed multiple families, which inhibited
the ability to identify on the map each evaluated domain.
This study has returned conclusive results regarding primary data analysis. There is a
significant difference regarding the perceptions of the case study neighborhood between
student and non-student residents. Students, in general are less concerned with centrifugal
forces that are taking place in the neighborhood, this is likely attributed to the short term of
residency of students. They have little economic investment in the place they live. Conversely,
non-student residents are raising families and are investing or have invested large amounts of
social and financial capital into their homes and neighborhood. The survey data presents a
cautionary outlook as more students are expected to enter the neighborhood and many
residents report a deteriorating level of satisfaction.
Many actions need to take place in order to reverse or stall the trends and perceptions
of neighborhood decline being experienced by Southeast Keene. The level of cooperation
between the City and the College must be high. The college and the city are beginning to work
in conjunction more so than years previous. Other institutions have implemented programs
within the college itself to promote and solidify the reputation of the college or university
within the community. One such program took place in Birmingham, Alabama, where incoming
students were encouraged to be active in the community and were made aware of what makes
a good neighbor. This program was implemented after some community backlash began to
occur in response to large fraternity parties and general disorder (Nichols 1990).
This is a good start, but students should be required to sit through a lecture, or even a
semester long class in what it means to be a positive and cohesive member of a community.
This would increase students’ awareness of residential concerns of student lifestyles in the
immediate community where their college is located. This would hopefully increase students’
attention to their actions and behavior and how it reverberates in the community. This system
would be implemented by the college, but would be most effective if it included members of
the community as well as city officials such as police officers or council members. This sort of
system would hopefully make for a more responsible student living in the community which
could potentially correlate with a better reputation of students and the institute at which they
A class such as this would not only make for a more responsible student-resident, but
the lessons learned could also endure into adulthood and make for more responsible adult
homeowners. This class would encapsulate the dynamics of local society. Many classes exist in
global economic affairs, or global geographic regions, or global awareness in general. There are
relatively few classes that focus on the local aspects of being a good citizen. A class of this type
could have far reaching implications in the college, the community, and lives of students. More
studies would need to be developed to expand this idea, but inaction on the part of any or all
parties involved will only decay the much sought after quality of life in Keene’s residential
To reverse or stop neighborhood decline the City of Keene can take action through
increased code enforcement, though a crucial component of any city taking action is
accountability. There are two parties involved in the student housing issue, landlords and their
student tenants. The student housing issue is not solely caused by a student presence. Students
renting houses cannot be held accountable for all of the negative aspects associated with
student households. Students living in the neighborhood must be held accountable for their
behavior and the cleanliness of the properties in which they live. Negative characteristics, such
as litter, parking on lawns, loud parties and disruptive behavior can all be directly attributed to
students. These are mostly issues of responsibility and can be addressed with fines and tickets
for code enforcement violations.
Holding landlords responsible for the condition of their properties can be problematic,
as the City of Keene has no official registry of rental properties. Landlords must also be held
accountable for the conditions of the households they rent out to students. Landlords are
responsible for the structural integrity of their properties. The tenants cannot be expected to
conduct repairs on roofs, windows, or other externalities of the houses in which they live.
Therefore, there needs to a distinction between rental properties and owner occupied housing
when assessing the condition of the property. Landlords are responsible to keep up the outside
appearance and condition of their properties, but are also responsible for the inside of their
dwellings. They need to be held accountable for the safety of their tenants. Some properties
rented to students are simply unsafe. Students living in troubling conditions often do no know
where to turn for help in dealing with absentee landlords. Information should be made
available to students planning to live off-campus about the rights they have as renters. Students
should understand their responsibilities as well as the responsibilities of their landlords.
In the City of Keene, these steps towards responsible student citizenship and improved
town-gown relations are already underway. While concern persists in the Southeast Keene
neighborhood, there still exists overarching attitudes of goodwill to the college and its students.
Many residents report having no trouble with student neighbors, with several even going so far
as to praise some student households for their contributions to the community. Amongst
students themselves there is also recognition of the need for civility, and concern that a few
student households may taint the overall image of the Keene State College student. With
positive attitudes and proactive solutions, the future of the Southeast Keene Neighborhood
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Appendix A- South East Keene Survey
Hello! We are from Department of Geography at Keene State College and are working in concert with the South East
Keene Neighborhood Group to conduct a study about your neighborhood. This survey is designed to gain an
understanding of the concerns of you and your neighbors. Results of this study will be presented to the Keene State
College Geography Department, SE Keene Neighborhood Group, and the City of Keene. Your participation in this survey
would be greatly appreciated.
How long have you been a resident of this neighborhood? Years Months
Please Circle: Please Circle:
1. Female 1. Home owner
2. Male 2. Renter
How would you rate your overall satisfaction with your neighborhood?
1. Poor 2 . Fair 3. Good 4. Excellent
Is your level of satisfaction with your neighborhood…
1. Increasing 2. Decreasing 3. Staying the Same 4. Don’t Know/No Opinion
In comparison with the rest of Keene, would you say that the quality of life in your neighborhood is:
1. Significantly Higher 2. Higher 3. Same 4. Lower 5. Significantly Lower
Please rate the following aspects of life in your neighborhood:
Strongly Somewhat No Opinion Somewhat Strongly
Agree Agree Disagree Disagree
1. Litter is a problem
in my neighborhood
2. Drivers obey traffic laws
in my neighborhood
3. Sidewalks are in
4. I feel safe in my home
5. I feel safe walking at night
6. Alcohol abuse is evident
7. Illegal Drug use is evident
8. Recent changes in the
neighborhood have caused
property values to decline
Are you a student at Keene State College? Yes No
What type of impact do Keene State College students have in your neighborhood?
1. Strong Positive 2. Positive 3. Neutral 4. Negative 5. Strong Negative
Do you live in close proximity to college students?
1. Yes (Immediate neighbors) 3. Yes (4+ houses away)
2. Yes (2-3 houses away) 4. Not in close proximity
In the past five years, or since you have been a resident, have you noticed an increase in the number of college
students living in your neighborhood?
3. Not Sure
Have you ever called the Police to respond to a disturbance in your neighborhood?
1. Yes (If yes, how many times?)
How would you rate your relationship with your neighbors?
1. Poor 2. Fair 3. Good 4. Excellent
A past assessment of Keene neighborhoods stated: “there can be no doubt that Keene State (College) is one of the
most valuable facilities in the City and to the southwestern region of N.H. as well.” Do you agree with this statement?
1. Strongly Agree 2. Somewhat Agree 3.No Opinion 4. Somewhat Disagree 5.Strongly Disagree
Please complete the following sentences:
“The best thing about my neighborhood is…”
“The worst thing about my neighborhood is…”