Guess what, neighbors? You live in a Great Place. The American Planning Association (APA), an organization of “planners, citizens and elected officials — committed to making great communities happen,” named Beacon Hill one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2012. This puts Beacon Hill in the company of neighborhoods including the Garden District in Baton Rouge, LA; Fells Point, Baltimore, MD; Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA; Cooper-Young, Memphis, TN; Downtown Walla Walla, WA; and others. The Great Neighborhoods are part of 30 Great Places in America listed by the APA, that also include 10 Great Streets and 10 Great Public Spaces.
The characteristics of a Great Neighborhood, according to the APA, include:
- Has a variety of functional attributes that contribute to a resident’s day-to-day living (i.e. residential, commercial, or mixed-uses).
- Accommodates multi-modal transportation (i.e. pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers).
- Has design and architectural features that are visually interesting.
- Encourages human contact and social activities.
- Promotes community involvement and maintains a secure environment.
- Promotes sustainability and responds to climatic demands.
- Has a memorable character.
The APA cited the Hill’s “dynamic and engaged community,” diversity, and light rail connectivity, while also mentioning our “commanding views and scenic vistas,” and landmarks including “the largest Olmsted-planned and designed green space in Seattle — Jefferson Park.”
Great Places are eligible for bronze plaques to mark the achievement, but it’s unknown at this stage whether Beacon Hill will have a plaque installed.