December 27, 2004

Traditional Town Or Suburban Sprawl?

How do you tell the difference between a traditional neighborhood type of community and housing that simply contributes to suburban sprawl? It's easy enough to label downtown Lexington as a traditional town center and Route 9 as suburban sprawl, but there's more to it than that famous judicial definition of pornography ("we know it when we see it").

Planners Dover, Kohl & Partners have come up with an easy quiz to test whether a neighborhood is an "authentic, mixed-use community" or not. Questions include: Can you find within a 5-minute walk of your home, a gallon of milk? A newspaper? A school? Does your community have an identifiable center or gathering place?

I would add: Do you enjoy walking around the neighborhood? Do you see others out walking? Is there anywhere to walk TO besides getting exercise and fresh air? Can you do any errands on foot -- and would you want to?

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