Over the years, thousands of San Franciscans have told us the things they love about their neighborhoods and the City, from the corner market to the neighborhood park. We have gathered their comments into what we call the eight key elements of a great urban neighborhood.
Certainly, there are other more particular day-to-day concerns facing the neighborhood, and they need to be addressed. Before we address these concerns, however, it will be most helpful if we begin first to think broadly about--to imagine--what qualities good urban neighborhoods should have, what a neighborhood might be and should be, and how it can be the best possible neighborhood for those who live in it. We will address most of the day-to-day concerns as we work through what it takes to be a great urban neighborhood.
1. A great neighborhood has everyday stores and services within an easy walk from home.
A great neighborhood has stores and shops that satisfy everyday needs within an easy walk from home. Everyday shops and services include corner groceries, day care, cafes and restaurants, banks, dry cleaners, bakeries and the like. An easy walk is about five to ten minutes.
2. A great neighborhood has safe and friendly streets.
A great neighborhood has safe and friendly streets. In a great neighborhood people can walk without fear of crime, being threatened by traffic, or being disturbed by excessive noise. People feel like they "belong" on neighborhood streets. Residential streets feel public, and more like open space than trafficways. Streets are a pleasant part of the neighborhood.
3. A great neighborhood has many ways to get around.
A great neighborhood has many choices for moving to, from, and within it. Great neighborhoods make it easy to move about on foot, by bicycle, transit, and auto. They accommodate the car, but allow people to live easily without cars.
4. A great neighborhood has a variety of housing types.
A great neighborhood has a variety of housing types. A mix of houses, flats and apartments of various sizes to meet different needs and preferences.
5. A great neighborhood has places for people to meet and talk.
A great neighborhood has places for people to meet, talk and be neighborly. Public gathering places include parks, plazas, sidewalks, and shops.
6. A great neighborhood has a full range of public services for residents.
A great neighborhood has a full range of public services for residents. Public services include parks, schools, police and fire stations, libraries and other amenities.
7. A great neighborhood has its own character.
A great neighborhood has its own special character. All neighborhoods are shaped by their physical setting, streets, buildings, open spaces, history, culture and the people who live in them. In great neighborhoods these attributes combine in unique and memorable ways.
8. Great neighborhoods make great cities.
Great Neighborhoods Make Great Cities. Great neighborhoods stand out on their own, yet are connected to the City. They can be a refuge for their residents, but also a part of the city's wider community.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)
"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"
Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster
Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.
I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.
Monday, June 1, 2015
Eight Elements of a Great Neighborhood
Location: San Francisco, CA