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from  Bob Hunter, FAICP, Executive Director 

 eNews Issue 2011.33  

 Celebrating Great Neighborhoods 

Robert B Hunter, FAICP


\ˈnā-bər-ˌhu̇d\  noun 

: a place or region locality

: a vicinity often referenced by its character
: the quality or state of being neighbors

: the people living near one another


Neighborhoods are a significant part of our lives.  As we get older, we often reminisce about the neighborhood in which we grew up or a particularly great neighborhood we lived in at some point.  Why do some neighborhoods stand out as memorable places with great character and quality of life?  What is it that fosters a sense of community among the people in a great neighborhood?


Pullman Neighborhood
Visitors to the Pullman Neighborhood in Chicago enjoy an annual house tour highlighting the neighborhood's design. photo by Tony Dzik


As part of the American Planning Association (APA) National Community Planning Month, APA has announced the winners of its Great Places Program celebrating great neighborhoods, great streets, and great public places of exemplary character, quality, and planning.  Selected annually, each represents the gold standard - having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow.  In this Weekly Planner, we'll look at APA's Great Neighborhoods and reflect on how a clear vision has created a and desirable place where people want to live, work and play.


A great neighborhood is functional.  It gives people choices on how they access the things they need and want to do.  In fact, a great neighborhood promotes activity and human interaction by its very design.  It's safe, appealing and memorable in its design, architecture and character.  Though quite diverse in characteristics, there is a sense of place common among this year's Great Neighborhoods:  


Birmingham, Alabama The Pullman Neighborhood - Chicago, IL

* Highland Park    

Berkeley, California

* Northbrae 

Atlanta, Georgia

* Ansley Park 

Chicago, Illinois

* The Pullman Neighborhood 

Davenport, Iowa 

* Gold Coast & Hamburg Historic District 

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

* Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood 

Omaha, Nebraska

* Dundee-Memorial Park 

German Village - Columbus, OH  

Columbus, Ohio

* German Village 

Tulsa, Oklahoma

* Swan Lake 

Providence, Rhode Island

* College Hill 


Beyond the physical characteristics, these great neighborhoods are abound with activitSwan Lake - Tulsa, OKy centers and celebrations.  There is energy and human interaction within easy walking distance for Swan Lake's residents, who frequent Cherry Street's popular retail and restaurant corridor, featuring a regular farmers market.  A sense of community abounds in the Dundee Memorial Park neighborhood, where residents and merchants have sought National Register status, funded a streetscape plan, restored historic street lamps, and pushed to be declared a neighborhood Dundee Memorial Parkconservation and enhancement district.  From quaint shops and restaurants to lovely early 20th century homes and inviting parks, the neighborhood is infused with vitality.  Residents take pride and ownership in their great neighborhood and even plan, administer and staff many events including an annual street  festival.

Multi-modal transportation choices are prevalent in great neighborhoods.  Planned for those walking or bicycling as well as for transit and highway access, the the original Northbrae subdivision in Berkeley, CA - an exclusive single-family home district under the city's 1916 zoning law - was designed so every lot was convenient to a train station, connected today to the neighborhood by two local bus routes.  Two bicycle boulevards, continuous routes traveling the length of the city, as well as streets with bicycle lanes, offer safe and convenient options to Northbrae's two commercial districts.
 APA Great Neighborhoods logo
Visit APA's Great Places in America 2011 Great Neighborhoods for details, maps and images showing why these neighborhoods represent the very best in planning.  The features and characteristics they embody do not happen by accident.  Comprehensive Plans are Community Plans are tools to effectively define what most distinguishes a particular community or neighborhood and how they want to capitalize on these assets as they grow.  A clearly defined vision, as the product of an engaged community, can result in great neighborhoods with leaders who measure each decision against that vision.

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In This Issue
Celebrating Great Neighborhoods
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What's Going On


October 17th | 1:30pm

Service Provider List Selection Committee

October 25th | 6:00pm - 8:00pm 

Balm Community Plan Workshop

November 4th | 8:30am - noon

Port of Tampa Boat Tour   

November 9th | 5:45pm - 7:45pm 

Community Plan Guide Stakeholder Meeting 


November 14th | 2:00pm

Planning Commission Meeting


November 14th | 5:30pm

Planning Commission Public Hearing on Amendments to the City of Plant City's Comprehensive Plan


For more information on meetings and events, please visit our websites:




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Partnering For The Future Workshop -- May 6 2011

Partnering For The Future Workshop -- May 6 2011

Berkeley, CA
Northbrae residents enjoy dedicated bicycle lanes and two bicycle boulevards that travel the length of Berkeley.
Photo Jill A. Martinucci.


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