What Makes Great Neighborhoods?

April 22, 2009 4 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Is Jacksonville on the right path to becoming a city filled with great neighborhoods? You be the judge.

Great neighborhoods and districts succeed because of the good smaller places within them, which when added together equal more than the sum of the parts. It is these small spots that define a place and reveal the richness and depth of its social life.

The best neighborhoods and downtown's, whether Camden, Maine, or Coyoacan in Mexico City, emerge when communities are guided first and foremost by a vision of what they want to see in public spaces and the things they would like to do there.  Great neighborhoods are rarely shaped by big developments, master plans, design standards, streetscape improvements, or a district management agenda.

The path to vibrant neighborhoods does not rely on big developments and streetscapes.  While they can complement, the rarely lead the way.

Nearly every neighborhood has the capacity to evolve into a good place. This happens when local people feel a growing sense of ownership, which extends beyond property lines to include informal partnerships with others living in the area.

The preservation of existing building stock is important because it allows local residents to become part the revitalization process.

Images by Metro Jacksonville