Curbed's Patrick Sisson shares the American Planning Association's annual list of Great Places in America, which recognizes different parts of the urban landscape—such as neighborhoods, public spaces, and streets—that make their communities a more enjoyable place to be.
Some characteristics the list considers are walkability, mixed-use buildings, public engagement, green space, community involvement, and cultural capital. One such exemplary neighborhood is Santa Ana, Calif.:
A rare bit of downtown density in a sea of suburban tract housing, downtown Santa Ana is on the National Register of Historic Places due to its well-preserved building stock, including 99 historic structures that date from 1870 to the post-earthquake reconstructions of 1934. The fourth densest city, it’s home artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives, and has been actively working to protect and redevelop its historic architecture since the ‘70s.