What is a "great Neighborhood"? An analysis of APA's top-rated places

Emily Talen, Sunny Menozzi, Chloe Schaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The American Planning Association's (APA) annual 'Great Neighborhoods' program was established to define the 'gold standard' of neighborhoods in America. APA's Great Neighborhoods designation illuminates the difficulty of achieving success on all fronts. The results confirm that a central paradox in American city planning, good design translates to a loss of affordability and social diversity is evident in the APA's selection of Great Neighborhoods. The analysis shows that APA GNs are historical, urban, and with good access to services. Further, except in terms of geographic size, APA GNs often conform to physical planning ideals: 78% have at least two identifiable edges, 77% have gridded or mostly gridded street networks, and more than half have an identifiable center. Relatively high WalkScores are an indication that these neighborhoods are also doing well in terms of access to amenities. A wide number of strategies and policies have been suggested to promote affordability in good quality neighborhoods and therefore meet the diversity goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-141
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the American Planning Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • neighborhood
  • neighborhood planning
  • social diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'What is a "great Neighborhood"? An analysis of APA's top-rated places'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this