10 best neighborhoods in America
The American Planning Association has honored 10 diverse communities for their sense of place. Do you live in a great neighborhood?
I once lived in a neighborhood that was considered a fabulous location. It was close to downtown — but not too close — full of cute 1930s houses, convenient to activities I enjoyed and near friends.
And I hated it, because it just wasn't neighborly. I persuaded my partner to move back to our old, less convenient but much more neighborly neighborhood. Location matters, but neighborhood sometimes matters even more.
The American Planning Association has just come out with its list of the 10 best neighborhoods in America. The criteria include architecture that's visually interesting, a design that encourages social contact and a memorable character.
"You don't feel like you're in Everywhere, USA," said Denny Johnson, APA public-affairs coordinator, in USA Today.
If you think you'd like to live in one of these neighborhoods, Curbed put together a collection of homes for sale in some of them.
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Here are America's 10 best neighborhoods for 2011:
- Highland Park, Birmingham, Ala. The neighborhood was chosen for its public spaces, location, mix of land uses and diversity of housing. "We have everything from apartments that are $400 a month to $1 million houses," Alison Glascock, president of the Highland Park Neighborhood Association, said in The Birmingham News.
- Northbrae, Berkeley, Calif. The APA noted the views of San Francisco Bay, plus Northbrae's "garden suburb design with streets and footpaths that follow the contour of the hills." "In some neighborhoods, people come home and all you see is their garage door close," Jeff Dutton, who has lived in the neighborhood 40 years, told The Daily Californian. "I take the time to talk. It’s friendly."
- Ansley Park, Atlanta. The 275-acre neighborhood was designed so no home is more than a 10-minute walk from one of the 14 parks.
- Pullman, Chicago. The development was built more than 100 years ago by George Pullman, the railroad-car maker, for the company's workers. "When you are in Pullman, you know it," Michael Shymanski, president of the Historic Pullman Foundation, told the Chicago Tribune. "It has a very strong sense of place, and the architecture and design helps reinforce the sense of place."
- Gold Coast and Hamburg Historic District, Davenport, Iowa. The homes were built in the late 1800s overlooking the Mississippi River. The neighborhood had fallen into disrepair but has been brought back in recent decades through the work of its residents. The award shows "what a few people with a vision can accomplish," Bill Boom, the alderman who represents the area, told The Quad City Times.
- Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood, Hattiesburg, Miss. "Everyone is their brother's keepers," Red Bailey, a former Hattiesburg City Councilman, told the Hattiesburg American. "The neighborhood was built on that type of foundation."
- Dundee Memorial Park, Omaha, Neb. This neighborhood was an early suburb, built at the end of a streetcar line.
- German Village, Columbus, Ohio. Neighborhood of brick streets and homes from the mid-1800s.
- Swan Lake, Tulsa, Okla. This area, where most of the homes were built in the 1920s and 1930s, is popular because of the diversity of its homes and its convenience. "It's walkable, very diverse," said Swan Lake resident Jim Turner, a member of the Tulsa Preservation Commission, in the Tulsa World. "There's a wide range of housing values, wide range of architecture."
- College Hill, Providence, R.I. This historic neighborhood near Brown University dates to the 1600s. Preservationists saved the area from demolition in the 1950s.
Do you live in a great neighborhood? What draws you to a neighborhood?
The best place to live is Cary , Nc. I do not have to say anything else!. I just love it!.
This is not a report, this is a sales pitch. You have to at least see the neighborhoods you describe to understand how badly they are. Not as bad as some others, but definitely not the best places to live.
You should check out Spring Hill Florida. Near enough to everything you want to see yet far enough away that we don't have the tourist trouble. Also the nature coast has some of the best fishing you'll ever find.
I have lived all over the world, in Europe, Asia and Africa where parents were posted by US Dept of State.
I am lucky to have lived in beautiful and wonderful places.
Here is my list:
Austin, Texas Travis Heights neighborhood, craftsman homes in one of Austin's oldest subdivisions, 10 minutes from downtown, situated around Stacy Park and convenient to business district, entertainment center of town on 6th Street and medical facilities, good schools, recreation and park space.
Alexandria, Virginia : Old Town. nieghborhood, Not far from Pentagon City and District of Columbia by metro just minutes away. Historic tourist area, on Potomac River, great sightseeing on King Street, live music, restaurants, great boutiques for the "gee just like Europe real shops and not a strip mall" feeling., art galleries, civic clubs, you could spend your life in historic Old Town without leaving other than to visit Smithsonian and other stimulating sights in the District of Columbia. Rent on a small one bedroom apt 1,800 per month. Llyes Crouch Elementary School -TC Jester High School and private schools in area.
Coral Gables Fla. Venetian Pool, Miracle Mile Shopping, Tennis Courts, Country Club, unique and interesting homes, nothing better than this - good schools.
Tirennia Italy, near Pisa, has seaside village atmosphere, villas and apartments, good restaurants.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.