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APA Lists Best North American Neighborhoods

APA has published a list of its "Top Ten Neighborhoods". The list tends towards the coasts, but includes two inland outliers.

"Two neighborhoods in California made the list. History and social character played a key role in the selection of San Francisco's North Beach."

"The history-rich, European-style neighborhood between the Financial District, Chinatown and Russian and Telegraph hills was one of two California neighborhoods included in a list of 10 great neighborhoods published this week by the American Planning Association.

The association praised the area's mom-and-pop stores and nightclubs, and the tolerance and tradition of both its developed and social environments."

"What truly makes North Beach unique are the people who live there," the association said in a statement. "If they are left behind by the market, so, too, is the character that a century of effort has kept in place."

"The Board of Supervisors was complimented by the planning association for helping to protect North Beach's "essential character," which was described as "a mix of tolerance and tradition in both its built and social environments."

"Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents and lives in North Beach, described the neighborhood as "ground zero for the anti-chain wars."

Top 10 neighborhoods in alphabetical order:

* Chatham Village, Pittsburgh

* Eastern Market, Washington, D.C.

* Elmwood Village, Buffalo, N.Y.

* First Addition, Lake Oswego, Ore.

* Hillcrest, San Diego

* North Beach, San Francisco

* Old West Austin, Austin, Texas

* Park Slope, Brooklyn, N.Y.

* Pike Place Market, Seattle

* West Urbana, Urbana, Ill.
- Source: American Planning Association

Full Story: North Beach a top-10 U.S. neighborhood



Why is

the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego listed on the top ten? I can think of hundreds of neighborhoods across the country that are more pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented, mixed use, medium-to-high density, and visually attractive than Hillcrest.

By the way, Project for Public Spaces has MUCH better criteria in which to rate the best neighborhoods and public spaces in North America, "Five of the best neighborhoods in North America".

This is just another reason why APA is NOT the best organization to represent urban planners or gain insight into urban environments. Hell, they have Teddy Cruz, the ivory tower, "cross-border" architect, from none other than suburban San Diego, to speak at the 2007 annual L'Enfant Lecture in Washington, D.C. They couldn't get anyone more qualified than him to speak?

Housing discrimination alleged at Chatham Village

As a resident of Pittsburgh, I'm glad to see that one of our neighborhoods made it onto the APA's list of top 10 North American neighborhoods. However, as recently as 2006, Chatham Village has been investigated for housing discrimination, specifically for steering away African Americans. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, see City probing Chatham Village for housing bias (Jan 20 2006).

Maybe the APA should take racial access into account in its next rating of North American neighborhoods.

Sean Capperis

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