The American Planning Association recently released its annual “Greatest Places in America” lists. Standing out from the daily inundation of best/greatest/prettiest lists put out by basically everyone now, the APA picks neighborhoods, streets and public spaces “of exemplary character, quality and planning.” So selection criteria presumably don’t include “What will get the most clicks?”
The choices for streets include some well-known roads (D.C.‘s Pennsylvania Avenue is cited for its “mix of civic spaces, public buildings, monuments, parks, local government, residences, hotels, theaters and museums”), and some that are more under the radar (Ogden’s 25th Street gets a nod for the “most complete contiguous collection of turn-of-the-century commercial architecture in Utah”). As for public spaces, the APA applauds a citizens’ group for reviving the 18-acre Lake Mirror in Lakeland, Fla., and notes that Oregon’s Lithia Park plays host to an 80-year-old annual Shakespeare Festival that, in 2013, generated local economic impact to the tune of $251 million.
In the broadest category of all — after all, great public spaces and great streets make up great urban neighborhoods — the APA turns up 10 places stretching from Albany, New York to Oakland, California. Nothing’s more personal to city-dwellers than the ranking of the small cluster of blocks at the center of their world. Noting Uptown Oakland’s spot on the list, Next City writer Alexis Stephens recently looked into that area’s “renaissance” in “Is Development Without Displacement Possible in the Bay Area?” and found a rich story of activism and economic development. That complexity — and the pressing matter of affordable housing in many growing U.S. cities — got us wondering, how much exactly do homes go for in these noteworthy neighborhoods? We gathered the data for median home sale price in the neighborhoods that made the APA’s “greatest” list; here’s the snapshot.
Reporting by Gabriella Nelson