A great neighborhood is more than just its location, location, location.
The best places to live are convenient and appealing in a number of ways — some of which you might not typically think about.
Here’s our guide to six factors that add a particular wow factor to a locale, the qualities which can make a neighborhood a really great place to live.
Culture & entertainment
Where do you take your family and friends when they come to visit from out-of-town? Think about the places you both enjoy personally and also enjoy sharing to understand just how important culture and entertainment options are in a great neighborhood. Simply put, the best neighborhoods are places where there’s lots of stuff to do — like enjoy the coolest new restaurants, browse a museum, catch a play or concert, grab a beer, or go for a hike. The best, hippest neighborhoods offer a variety of options that make living there ever-interesting.
Social gathering spots
Great neighborhoods reflect the people living there, and that’s why social interaction is an important factor in the best communities. These places offer opportunities for neighbors to get to know each another in public spaces. These opportunities can be created by walkable sidewalks, benches on street corners, patio dining and other social spots where people can interact.
According to the American Planning Association (APA), a non-profit organization dedicated to the growth of better communities, visual interest is an important factor in a great neighborhood. By APA standards, a great neighborhood is one that features interesting architecture and design, such as historically-preserved homes or sculptures made by local artists.
Great neighborhoods are comfortable and appealing. They feature intriguing storefronts, clean streets with good lighting, and flowers and trees that look inviting. The visual interest these qualities create is important because it beckons people to hang out in the neighborhood — and come back again and again.
You might have the most beautiful apartment home imaginable, but if it’s not situated near the amenities and services you prefer, you may soon feel that something’s missing. That’s why the Project for Public Spaces (PPS), a non-profit organization, considers the “Power of 10” one of the most important features in a great neighborhood. The Power of 10 refers to the ten most important places any resident needs in a neighborhood: places like a handy supermarket, walking park, or favorite spot to grab a snack. These are the most important, useful and fun places in a great neighborhood, according to you!
Great neighborhoods are also easy to get in and out of, serving residents and visitors with a network of organized streets and alternate methods of transportation. They’re walkable, bikeable or drivable places where it’s easy to get around.
All of these great neighborhood factors add up to memorable character: the essence of a place that makes it really stand out from the rest of the city’s surroundings. Memorable character is what fosters a sense of pride in a place. For the residents of that community, there will always be stories to tell of life lived there.
Photo credit: Shutterstock / Creativemarc, Natalia Bratslavsky