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Decatur, Georgia named one of the greatest places in America

When the American Planning Association (APA) speaks, apparently many listen. And they just named downtown Decatur, Georgia one of the great neighborhoods in America.

At a glance, they state that “APA is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. We measure our success by the successes of our members and the communities they serve.”

I am proud to say that I’ve been living in the “vital community” (APA’s coined term) of Intown Atlanta for 16 years. I’m now a resident of downtown Decatur, and I also operate my business out of the KW market center in downtown Decatur. Click here for directions.

I certainly think that Decatur is one of the greatest places in America. Calling downtown Decatur one of the greatest neighborhoods in America is an easy call and the fact that the APA ranks Chinatown in San Francisco and Norwich, CT as the #1 and #2 greatest neighborhoods in America, makes me feel somewhat cosmopolitan.

Like I really do live in a megalopolis, yet my neighborhood is a true neighborhood – one of the best in the country. And, as this Trulia graphic reveals, there is a distinct difference between “Decatur” and 30030, downtown Decatur.

30030, downtown Decatur is one of the most stable, high demand real estate markets in the USA. Another reason to call Decatur one of the greatest places in America.

decatur median sales prices

If you would like to read a more in depth analysis of the 5 different zip codes of Decatur, the 5 distinct submarkets of Greater Decatur, click here to read an article I wrote in October 2012, entitled “Greater Decatur.” 

The 30 places selected represent “the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow,” the organization says on its website.

The APA continues, “Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live. They are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. They are places where people want to be — not only to visit, but to live and work every day. America’s truly great streets, neighborhoods and public spaces are defined by many criteria, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement.”

While Decatur is the only Georgia community on the 2013 list, previous lists included Atlanta’s Ansley Park neighborhood (2011), Savannah’s Bull Street (2007) and The Squares of Savannah (2009). Click here to see winners by state for 2007 to 2013.

My Decatur is “Constantly changing and evolving, downtown Decatur’s character comes from the successful marriage of historic and contemporary buildings and uses. The emergence of downtown as a dynamic and prosperous neighborhood spans more than three decades and is a story of planning, commitment, patience, and investment.”

Here is the list!

The 2013 Great Places in America

Great neighborhoods

*San Francisco: Chinatown

*Norwich, Conn.: Downtown Norwich/Chelsea Landing

*Decatur, Ga.: Downtown Decatur

*Evanston, Ill.: Central Street Neighborhood

*Mason City, Iowa: Downtown Mason City

*Covington, Ky.: Historic Licking Riverside

*Minneapolis: Kenwood

*Beaufort, S.C.: Beaufort Historic District

*Norfolk, Va.: West Freemason

*Madison, Wis.: Williamson Marquette

Great streets

*Milford, Del.: North and South Walnut Street

*Pensacola, Fla.: Palafox Street

*Honolulu: Kalakaua Avenue

*Virginia City, Nev.: C Street

*Las Vegas, N.M.: Bridge Street

*Corning, N.Y.: Market Street

*Jim Thorpe, Penn.: Broadway

*Philadelphia: Ben Franklin Parkway

*Galveston, Texas: The Strand (Avenue B)

*Staunton, Va.: West Beverley Street

Great public spaces

*Anchorage: Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

*Los Angeles: Grand Park

*Hollywood, Fla.: Broadwalk

*Boston: Norman B. Leventhal Park

*Cambridge and Watertown, Mass.: Mount Auburn Cemetery

*St. Louis: Forest Park

*Newark: Essex County Branch Brook Park

*New York: Grand Central Terminal

*Chattanooga, Tenn.: Walnut Street Bridge

*Vancouver, Wash.: Esther Short Park

Click here to view a slideshow of America’s current crop of great places.

God bless America, and God bless my great neighborhood of downtown Decatur, GA, truly one of the greatest neighborhoods in America for a decade or so, and just getting better, year after year!


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