Author Topic: Finding/creating kickass neighborhoods.  (Read 1405 times)

onemorebike

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Finding/creating kickass neighborhoods.
« on: November 29, 2014, 08:42:51 AM »
Inspired about a recent thread about neighbors. I've looked into this quite a bit, read a book called playborhoods on how to create a neighborhood that nurtures play. In our current hood we've transformed the place drawing the four to six families out from their houses and into front yards/streets etc. It has really come alive! I've had a number of the older folks in the neighborhood tell me how drastically it changed since we arrived.

Anyway, we are moving to a new city and I'm wondering if anyone has tips and tricks for moving into a neighborhood where this is already going on. Where there are already kids at play but also neighbors that are friendly and out front. Not that we would mind recreating this but we'd prefer not to have to start from scratch!

I you were buying a house what would you look out for?

(We are.pretty social people so no tactics will be discarded)

MKinVA

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Re: Finding/creating kickass neighborhoods.
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2014, 08:49:10 AM »
Look for neighborhoods near a public park or dog park. People in the neighborhood usually use these parks and makes for a natural meeting place. My old neighborhood had a public park that held a farmers market on Saturdays. My new neighborhood owns a riverfront property where we have cook outs several times a year.

Gray Matter

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Re: Finding/creating kickass neighborhoods.
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2014, 09:14:13 AM »
If you know people who live in the new city, ask them.  Describe what you like and see what they have to say, maybe say you're looking for "a small town in the city."  Also, visit the prospective neighborhoods and sit in a public place (like a park, coffee shop, etc.).  Are there people out and about?  Do they seem to know each other?  Are people out walking their dogs (great way to meet folks)?  What kinds of fliers are hanging up on bulletin boards--are there plenty of local activities going on?  Go hang out at the school when it lets out--are there parents standing around talking in groups?  Are there lots of people calling out "hi" to other people?  Is there a neighborhood newspaper or newsletter?  Read it it if there is?  How do they celebrate the Fourth?  National Night Out?  Also, look for a neighborhood with sidewalks, no fences in the front yard, front porches that are open and have furniture on them.

I live in such a neighborhood and count my lucky stars that we stumbled upon it as starving grad students--we started in an apartment, then bought a small house, then a larger house when we had kids.  I'd like to live in the neighborhood forever, downsizing as it makes sense.

myrax

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Re: Finding/creating kickass neighborhoods.
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2014, 12:42:54 PM »
You can start by using Walkscore or Padmapper to identify neighborhoods that have some of the assets you are looking for within walking distance like schools, parks, grocery stores, etc. When there are destinations, people are more likely to walk.

Once you have a few neighborhoods you are looking, you can use Google Streetview to "visit" them and see if the front yards are an inviting place for people to be. Are there street trees? Are the houses relatively close to the street, to create a sense of place? Are there front porches? Are the streets relatively narrow?

You can also search for information about the neighborhoods- different cities use different forums, but you'll probably be able to find something where residents of the city are discussing neighborhoods. You can also join the neighborhood's Facebook page if they have one or look to see if they have any neighborhood groups you can find online.

Finally, once you've picked your neighborhood, start off by renting, just to make sure you've made the right decision. And if you can't find a cool neighborhood- you can borrow a trick from mine to start one. Every week on Stoop Night (Thursdays), a group of neighbors pulls a wagon filled with beer down the street to greet the people sitting on their stoops. They tweet about its location to help draw people out of their houses and into the public realm.