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What Does Your Ideal Neighborhood Look Like?
Amber Collett • January 25, 2012
Last summer, I spent a significant amount of time traversing the Twin Cities on a mission khổng lồ purchase a house. I made a point to xe đạp to most of the locations because I wanted to get a feel for the neighborhood. What was the transportation access? Where was the nearest park? Would my neighbors mind if I turned my lawn into a sprawling garden with a chicken coop? What about a mini-prairie? Can I walk to the nearest grocery store? Is there a neighborhood coffee shop? And, most importantly, does that coffee siêu thị have delicious espresso??

These questions made me quantify how I would define an ‘ideal’ neighborhood. I can’t speak to lớn everyone’s definition of ‘ideal’ –and I’m glad there are a variety of opinions –but I wanted lớn pull together the latest thoughts and conversations I’ve had about creating neighborhood space.

Bạn đang xem: What does your ideal neighborhood look like?

To that end, I recently sat down with Steve Clark at xe đạp Walk Twin Cities (full disclosure, I worked at bike Walk Twin Cities until earlier this month) khổng lồ talk with him about what design elements help create thriving local neighborhoods from a transportation viewpoint. Here’s what we came up with:

Neighborhoods should:

1. Be Well Connected

There is a visual difference between a vibrant, dense urban area & a suburban neighborhood. One of the most notorious suburban designs is the cul-de-sac. Cul-de-sacs immediately present a transportation và connectivity challenge. For example, you may live just one mile as the crow flies from the nearest school but the road infrastructure forces you to lớn travel three miles to lớn arrive at the front door. Happily there is a growing movement across the country lớn secure easements from landowners khổng lồ connect cul-de-sacs with a bike/pedestrian path. Even this small modification can lead lớn greater connectivity and encourage residents khổng lồ embrace a variety of transportation options.

" data-medium-file="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cul-de-sac-2-300x201.jpg" data-large-file="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cul-de-sac-2.jpg" decoding="async" class="size-medium wp-image-375 jetpack-lazy-image" title="cul-de-sac-2" src="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cul-de-sac-2-300x201.jpg" alt width="300" height="201" data-lazy-srcset="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cul-de-sac-2-300x201.jpg 300w, https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cul-de-sac-2.jpg 400w" data-lazy-sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-lazy-src="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/cul-de-sac-2-300x201.jpg?is-pending-load=1" srcset="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">Does your neighborhood look lượt thích this one? (Photo credit: DC buoidienxanhha.com Blog)

2. Contain Destinations

Connectivity on it’s own does little to lớn create a vibrant neighborhood. For connectivity lớn mean something, there must be an assortment of nearby destinations.

Minneapolis and Saint Paul are both blessed to lớn have many neighborhood business nodes that are the often the result of careful thành phố planning. In particular, zoning and infrastructure planning can encourage the development these business nodes. As other buoidienxanhha.com bloggers have pointed out, narrow buoidienxanhha.com can also create diversity in a business area và encourage bike/pedestrian movement.

Local establishments also have a role khổng lồ play. As a case in point, I’m currently sipping on a cup of Peace Coffee at Trotters Café where every Saturday night is “locals night” where customers receive 10% off their meal if they live within two miles. On đứng đầu of that, you receive an additional 5% discount if you walk, bike, or bus lớn Trotters. Though it seems small, incentives like this encourage real mode-shift in communities while also supporting the growth of a local economy.

" data-medium-file="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/trotters-300x300.jpg" data-large-file="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/trotters.jpg" decoding="async" class="size-medium wp-image-374 jetpack-lazy-image" title="trotters" src="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/trotters-300x300.jpg" alt width="300" height="300" data-lazy-srcset="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/trotters-300x300.jpg 300w, https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/trotters-150x150.jpg 150w, https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/trotters.jpg 720w" data-lazy-sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-lazy-src="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/trotters-300x300.jpg?is-pending-load=1" srcset="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">Local's Night at Trotters Cafe, Saint Paul

3. Have Healthy Infrastructure

Ultimately, if we want lớn move towards a society that encourages equality, we need to consider the equality of our buoidienxanhha.com as well. By thinking of every street as a public space, we recognize that buoidienxanhha.com are part of & not separate from the neighborhood. buoidienxanhha.com become places to live, work, and play. Ideally, each street is designed for everybody with the least infringement on the movement of others –cars, bicyclists, và pedestrians become equal road users under this model.

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Currently, buoidienxanhha.com are divided into a hierarchy of sorts. The calmer, slower neighborhood buoidienxanhha.com turn into larger collector buoidienxanhha.com. Those then become arterial roadways that feed into the highway or interstate. But this hierarchy fails lớn ask: what does a healthy street look like? The busier, larger buoidienxanhha.com carry much higher traffic volumes & are therefore fraught with greater air pollution. With increased pollution comes an increased incidence of health problems such as asthma. Is a neighborhood healthy if children face an increased risk of asthma or can’t safely cross the street? It sounds like a rhetorical question, but it may be one that isn’t considered often enough.

4. Encourage Neighborhood Involvement

When residents feel empowered khổng lồ challenge the status quo in development & infrastructure creation, they are able to advocate for the neighborhood that best fits their ideal. The Riverlake greenway was a project driven by residents from the start. It is a challenge for an individual to envision a total change –but a group working together can make sure that all voices are heard & giving precedence. Moreover, neighborhood involvement bolsters political will lớn make broader policy changes at the city, state, và national level. Of course, real change always faces opposition. Understanding that, the role of conversation và compromise takes center stage. Neighborhoods can encourage real conversations that involve listening, educating, advocating, and constructively compromising to lớn move towards a system that takes local concerns seriously. A healthy neighborhood has democracy in the process.

Another great example of neighborhood involvement in transportation planning is the work of the Stops for Us Coalition. As the stops for the Central Corridor LRT were being planned, the neighborhoods surrounding University Avenue from Snelling to lớn Rice grouped together to lớn advocate for additional stops lớn serve areas of predominantly low income and/or minority families, immigrant-owned small businesses, elders, children under 16, and persons with disabilities. Many that identify with these groups rely on public transit lớn take them to work, school, and daily activities. However, the initial plan for the Central Corridor proposed stations one mile apart in these neighborhoods unlike the rest of the line where stations were spaced only a half-mile apart –a much more accessible, walkable distance for many. The Stops for Us Coalition successfully advocated for a change in federal policy khổng lồ enable the Central Corridor to địa chỉ three additional stops at Western, Victoria, & Hamline. As a result, not only will these local neighborhoods have better transportation access, neighborhoods across the country have greater opportunity to lớn engage & influence the planning process for major transportation projects. The Stops for Us Coalition was also awarded the 2010 National Environmental Justice Award from the Environmental Protection Agency!

" data-medium-file="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Stops-for-Us-3-300x151.jpg" data-large-file="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Stops-for-Us-3.jpg" decoding="async" class="size-medium wp-image-376 jetpack-lazy-image" title="Stops-for-Us-3" src="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Stops-for-Us-3-300x151.jpg" alt width="300" height="151" data-lazy-srcset="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Stops-for-Us-3-300x151.jpg 300w, https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Stops-for-Us-3.jpg 530w" data-lazy-sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-lazy-src="https://buoidienxanhha.commn.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Stops-for-Us-3-300x151.jpg?is-pending-load=1" srcset="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7">A Stops For Us Rally (Photo credit: District Councils Collaborative)

What does your ideal neighborhood look like?

These are just a few of many characteristics that I would use to lớn describe an ideal neighborhood. What vày you have khổng lồ add? What do you look for when choosing a place to live –both from a transportation viewpoint & others?

I look forward khổng lồ hearing your thoughts!


4 thoughts on “What Does Your Ideal Neighborhood Look Like?”

Dave CorbettJanuary 25, 2012 at 3:45 am

5 Step Plan for an ideal neighborhood:

1. Connected, narrow buoidienxanhha.com with ample xe đạp parking. Discourages oto traffic, allows neighbors to lớn feel more in touch with one another, provides a spot for your steed.

2. Easy access khổng lồ staples/necessities. If you can't get milk or bread within about 2 miles things aren't ideal. Having at least a small commercial area within walking distance is key.

3. Easy access khổng lồ entertainment. It's always great khổng lồ head across town lớn see a show or go khổng lồ a party, but it's absolutely vital lớn have some closer-to-home options too. Life is a lot better when you can walk a few blocks và enjoy a fine craft beer when the mood strikes.

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4. Local, small businesses. This is related khổng lồ numbers 2 and 3, but it's important enough lớn have be a separate requirement. Feeling a connection to lớn the businesses in your area is an important part of generating community spirit. Contrary khổng lồ their advertisements, an ideal neighborhood probably does not contain an Applebees; just sayin'.

5. People who care. This should probably be number 1, but these aren't in any particular order anyway. Also, having the other four usually helps attract people in this catagory or convince people already there lớn invest more in their surroundings. It's as simple as picking up a piece of trash. People who care about their neighborhood will spend more time there and generally make it a better place khổng lồ live by being friendly, courteous, respectful và by stabbing each other less.