Neighborhood association

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A Neighborhood Association (NA) is a group of residents or property owners who advocate for or organize activities within a neighborhood. An association may have elected leaders and voluntary dues.

Some neighborhood associations in the United States are incorporated, may be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, and may enjoy freedom from taxation from their home state.[1]

The term neighborhood association is sometimes incorrectly used instead of homeowners association (HOA). But neighborhood associations are not homeowners associations (HOA). An HOA is a group of property owners with the legal authority to enforce rules and regulations that focus on restrictions and building and safety issues. On the other hand, a neighborhood association is a group of neighbors and business owners who work together for changes and improvements such as neighborhood safety, beautification and social activities. They reinforce rules and regulations through education, peer pressure and by looking out for each other. Some key differences include:[2]

  • HOA membership is mandatory generally through rules tied to the ownership of property like deed restrictions. Neighborhood association membership is voluntary or informal.
  • HOAs often own and maintain common property, such as recreational facilities, parks, and roads, whereas neighborhood associations are focused on general advocacy and community events.

The rules for formation of a neighborhood association in the United States are sometimes regulated at the city or state level.

Neighborhood Councils within a city, whose officers are generally elected, are composed of various neighborhood associations and, as such, may be subject to limitations and special rules set up by the Council.

Neighborhood associations are more likely to be formed in older, established neighborhoods, especially those that that predate HOAs. HOAs are generally established at the time a residential neighborhood is built and sold. Sometimes older established neighborhoods form an HOA to help regulate rules and standards.

In some cases, neighborhood associations exist simultaneously with HOAs, and each may not encompass identical boundaries. In one example, newer infill neighborhoods built decades after the original, surrounding HOA-less neighborhood may have its own HOA but also be within the boundaries of a NA.

Grassroots and Straddler Organizations[edit]

While neighborhood associations in the United States often function in a similar manner, other areas of the world demonstrate a unique form of neighborhood associations that is uncommon to Western ideals. These NA do share basic characteristics with traditional grassroots organizations but yet they remain distinctly different. Benjamin Read refers to this variety of organizations as "straddlers for their spanning of the state-society divide."[3] Neighborhood Associations in terms of grassroots organizations compared to straddler organizations can be distinguished by the following characteristics:


  • Ultra local level
  • Citizens’ organizations
  • Ideas are authentic & pure
  • Driven by community volunteers
  • Develop naturally & spontaneously
  • Autonomous from government and politics

Neighborhood-based Straddler organizations

  • East & Southeast Asia
  • Extensive grassroots presence
  • Engage widespread participation
  • Linked to state rather than independent of it
  • Governments actively shape their citizens' lives

To expand on the variety of global neighborhood associations present, an example can be used from certain NA's in Asia.

Neighborhood Association Frameworks in Asia[edit]

There exists four general frameworks to understanding how a local organization, such as a neighborhood association, may straddle the state-society realm. They are:[4][5]

  • Civil Society Theory-Local citizens' groups are autonomous from government
  • Mass Organizations- Ultimate government control; ruling party dominates specific sectors of society
  • Corporatism- State structuring of societal interests
  • State-Society Synergy-[6] Government and communities partner to enhance each other's efforts[7]

The relationship between the states and the various forms of neighborhood association may also be identified by its level of statism. Mass organizations would be considered the most statist, where the local associations are closely linked to the state. The Civil Society theory is considered the least statist and here the local associations are extremely self-reliant. Between the most and least statist points are corporatist and state-society synergy; they operate with government and depend on its sponsorship but remain free from direct control. China, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand provide valuable examples of the how the four frameworks and statism levels play a role in guiding the overall purpose and ultimate goal of the neighborhood-based organizations in each county.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Association Types "Advocate Property Management", Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  2. ^ "Property Owners Association". Ravenwood Property Owners Association. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Read, Benjamin; Pekkanen, Robert (2009). Local Organizations and Urban Governance in East and Southeast Asia: Straddling State and Society. Routledge. 
  4. ^ Ott, J. Steven; Dicke, Lisa A. (2012). The Nature of the Nonprofit Sector. Westview Press. pp. 386–387. ISBN 978-0-8133-4491-1. 
  5. ^ Read, Benjamin; Pekkanen, Robert (2009). Local organizations and urban governance in East and Southeast Asia: Straddling state and society. Routledge. 
  6. ^ Evans, P. 1996. Government Action, Social Capital and Development: Reviewing the Evidence on Synergy. World Development, 24(6): 1119-1132.
  7. ^ Read, Benjamin; Pekkanen, Robert (2009). Local organizations and urban governance in East and Southeast Asia: Straddling state and society. Routledge. 
  8. ^ Ott, J. Steven; Dicke, Lisa A. (2012). The Nature of the Nonprofit Sector. Westview Press. pp. 386–387. ISBN 978-0-8133-4491-1.