Five of the Best U.S. Neighborhoods

The following is a list of five of the “Best Neighborhoods” in the U.S. according to the Project for Public Spaces.

BEST NEW NEIGHBORHOOD:
PEARL DISTRICT, PORTLAND, OREGON

Contributed by Jon Winslow.

“City planners and transportation officials from throughout North America come to the Pearl to study it as a model for urban neighborhoods. It was once an industrial zone, now a hip loft area with galleries, shops and restaurants. A new streetcar line plays an important role in its success. Many historic brick warehouses and other buildings have been converted to housing, complemented by a bevy of new infill construction. The pedestrian-friendly nature of the neighborhood is so successful, with storefronts lining many streets, that many residents have gotten rid of their cars or use them very rarely.”

BEST REVITALIZED NEIGHBORHOOD:
CHAPEL STREET, NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT

“The College/Chapel Street District offers a few exceptional blocks of urban vitality in a struggling city that needs a reminder that such a thing exists. The area is across the street from Yale University, but until it was revitalized, a world away. It includes historic apartment and office buildings, along with three theaters that have long been important testing grounds for Broadway shows. The theaters and the neighborhood went into a tailspin along with the rest of New Haven in the 1960s. When developer Joel Schiavone bought the buildings in the early 1980s they were almost entirely vacant. Schiavone saw the potential of renovated theaters to act as anchors for new restaurants and shops and a flourishing neighborhood, and has stuck with making it happen. Schiavone’s broad vision and long-term commitment have been crucial to the revival of this great place.”

“The College/Chapel Street District today is a heavily-frequented, mixed-use area. Improvements, including the narrowing of street lanes to create more life on the sidewalks, have resulted in three cafes with outdoor seating clustered around the corner of College and Chapel, accompanied by a newsstand, many shops, and lots of office space.”

BEST HIP NEIGHBORHOOD:
THE PLATEAU, MONTREAL, QUEBEC

“A quaint working-class quarter transformed into the artistic and cultural hotbed of Quebec. This is really Montreal’s showcase neighborhood, featuring some of the city’s finest architecture, cuisine and entertainment venues. Plateau dwellers include artistic types, university students, young families and an older generation of people who still remember this now-hip neighborhood when it was a working class melange of cultures and ethnicities.”

“The Plateau is pleasurable to live in particularly because of the close connection of housing, shopping, parks and entertainment opportunities. It is extremely sociable, friendly and welcoming, and an ideal setting for long strolls. Pick-up games of soccer and Frisbee are always going on in the parks and people of all ages can be found strolling through streets and lounging in cafes during the afternoon.”

BEST SMALL TOWN NEIGHBORHOOD:
DIVISION STREET, NORTHFIELD, MINNESOTA

Submitted by Kathy Phillipsen

“Northfield’s downtown is full of energy and charm, from historic buildings to the graceful lamp posts to the store owners who bring their merchandise out onto the sidewalks. It is truly the heart of town, serving the adjacent neighborhoods and college campuses as well as the entire county.” “The downtown layout is not just a straight strip of street lined with buildings. Roads curve off here and there, with more business tucked around the corners. There are many nooks and crannies in the downtown area, and one could spend an entire day checking it out. The Cannon River jogs through downtown and is surrounded by walking paths, bridges and parks along its waterfront. In the summer, local performing arts groups put on shows on a regular basis and draw many people. The downtown area really makes you feel as though life doesn’t have to be run at high speed every moment.”

BEST SHOPPING CENTER THAT IS ALSO A REAL NEIGHBORHOOD:
COUNTRY CLUB PLAZA, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

Submitted by Eric Youngberg

“This is America’s first shopping center, from which all those following can learn important lessons. It is a pedestrian oriented district made up of 1920s Spanish-style architecture with towers, domes, and public plazas filled with fountains and sculptures. Historic residential buildings are interwoven into the commercial areas so that it is an active and alive place. It attracts people from all walks of life. Parking is hidden under and behind buildings. Brush Creek meanders through the Plaza with walkways on each side, and pedestrian bridges crossing it.”

“You’ll find sidewalk cafes, coffee houses, live music on various corners, plazas, and people from all walks of life. The adjacent Mill Creek Park is the premier place in town to jog, exercise, walk your dog or sunbathe. The JC Nichols fountain serves as the city’s “speaker’s corner,” and hosts numerous political rallies and demonstrations.”

Advertisements



    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: