Where the Great Places Are: Association Lists Top Neighborhoods, Streets, Spaces

The American Planning Association's annual Great Places in America list highlights examples of beautiful, well-planned community hubs. Check out the list to see whether your city made the cut.

It’s not often that you’ll see Washington, DC’s, Adams Morgan and Jackson, Mississippi’s, Greater Belhaven mentioned in the same breath.

But mentioned they were, along with eight other neighborhoods, on the American Planning Association’s Great Places in America list, released this week. The list—which this year covers neighborhoods, streets, and public places in 20 states—highlights well-planned communities that show architectural diversity and strong community involvement.

The campaign, launched in 2007, coincides with the start of the association’s National Community Planning Month each October.

“These exemplary neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces showcase the great results that come about when diverse groups of people work together to create communities with lasting value,” APA President William Anderson said in a news release. “It is a pleasure to celebrate locales from across the country during National Community Planning Month and add to our already distinguished list of previous great-place designees.”

A few examples of great places that made this year’s list:

The Fan, Richmond, Virginia: Like Victorian-style homes? You’ll love this neighborhood. Representing one of the largest collections of such homes in the U.S., this neighborhood has maintained its vibrancy and character for more than 80 years, becoming a part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. It’s the second time this part of Richmond has appeared on the association’s list; in 2007, the neighborhood’s Monument Avenue was listed as a “Great Street.”

Lincoln Trails Network, Lincoln, Nebraska: You’ll never be lacking for trails if you visit Lincoln. The city’s 131 miles of paths serve as something of an artery system for the city, reaching every corner of the metro area—which is all the more impressive when you consider that work only started on the trails in 1978. And they’re just getting going. An element of the city’s ambitious LPlan 2040 is an expansion of the current trail system, with the goal of making it accessible to every resident of the city, with a walk of a mile or less. Definitely not a small step.

Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC: Perhaps one of the most well-known streets in the country, the avenue that directly connects the White House with the U.S. Capitol has historic relevance—as you might expect of a street that’s the traditional route taken during presidential inaugurations—but also modern flair. In 2010, the street got two-way protected bike lanes, and contemporary buildings like the Newseum are helping to bring new styles of architecture to the street.

Check out the full list on the association’s website.

Lincoln, Nebraska's many trails already cover much of the city, and they'll soon expand even further. (handout photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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