15 ‘Great Places in America’ Honored for 2016

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The American Planning Association has identified some of the nation's best neighborhoods, public spaces and streets.

U.S. cities seem to be recognized regularly — for everything from being pet-friendly to being parent-friendly.

Seldom do you read about a particular neighborhood, public space or street being recognized. But that’s exactly what the American Planning Association’s “Great Places in America” program does annually.

The honorees for 2016 Great Places in America were announced this week. They include five neighborhoods, five public spaces and five streets — “essential components of all communities,” as the APA puts it.

Carol Rhea, APA president, explains:

“Our Great Places in America designees reflect the many facets that make up planning, including community engagement, economic benefits and quality of character. These exemplary neighborhoods, streets and public spaces showcase the positive outcomes when a community works together to create communities of lasting value.”

Other characteristics of Great Places in America include architectural features, accessibility and functionality.

Jim Drinan, APA chief executive, describes Great Places as “the gold standard of what makes this country a great place.”

The association launched its Great Places in America program a decade ago and has since recognized more than 200 neighborhoods, public spaces and streets.

The latest designees are:

2016 Great Neighborhoods

  • Downtown Santa Ana — Santa Ana, California
  • Midtown Atlanta — Atlanta
  • Old Louisville — Louisville, Kentucky
  • Nob Hill — Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Downtown Warren — Warren, Rhode Island

2016 Great Public Spaces

  • Golden Heart Plaza — Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Central Park Plaza — Valparaiso, Indiana
  • Findlay Market — Cincinnati
  • Guthrie Green — Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Fairmount Park — Philadelphia

2016 Great Streets

  • Sherman Avenue — Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
  • Main Street — Ketchum, Idaho
  • South 24th Street — Omaha, Nebraska
  • Arthur Avenue — Bronx, New York
  • Main Street — Davidson, North Carolina

To explore these places, check out the APA’s Great Places in America map.

Is there a particular neighborhood, public space or street that you would consider a “great place”? Let us know why in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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