Placebook: Neighborhood Dopplegangers

Rowhouses in Baltimore

Photo Credit: Flickr user Paukus.

We talk a lot about how many neighborhoods look exactly alike. If we want to be honest, it happens in big cities with blocks of condo towers and post-World War II suburbs. Critics of new urbanism say that the homes look too much like a certain style as well.

The weirdest thing though is when a developer copies the same neighborhood signage and subdivision names, then remakes them in another city. It’s the Levittown phenomenon. But at least those neighborhoods had the same name. There’s a neighborhood in Durham and Greensboro that’s pretty much the same, except the name of the whole neighborhood is different. But the branding of the individual subdivisions, the signs marking the subdivisions and even the plans of how the neighborhood is laid out (one big parkway in the middle, smaller cul-de-sacs and smaller loop roods off that parkway) is the same. There are even neighborhoods not officially in the neighborhood, that are only accessed from going deep into the subdivision. If you are not good with roads, yet happen to find yourself in this community, getting lost is not only expected, but a very weird experience.

So what’s not weird, today’s news. Check that out below and let’s do our best not to get lost in neighborhood doppelgängers.

NC Roundup

How North Carolina hopes to avoid other state’s marketing and PR problems.

Growth in Mecklenburg County includes low-income residents.

Check out how Charlotte’s transit funding stands up against other metros.

Someone jumped off an I-540 bridge and property owners are voting on I-277 noise walls.

What to expect when Raleigh’s UDC comes to fruition.

What Raleigh City Council did last week

Charlotte’s found hazardous materials in their sewer system. Meanwhile, the latest in the coal ash spill saga.

US and World Roundup

Thoughts from the Amtrak CEO, as told to Railway Age.

Apparently, if your roof is white, it’s the coolest of them all.

Placemaking lessons from the Seattle Super Bowl Parade.

For those cities with rail transit, is keeping them open all night worth it? Yes, even though this article assumes only young(possibly drunk) professionals will use it and that only small numbers of people work the graveyard shifts.

DeBlasio’s appointed his planning commission chair.

Will this Whole Foods in New Orléans be for everyone?

This article on the truly affordable NYC apartment is a major lesson in how family networks are vital in allowing for people to have success, especially as they are first starting out in the world.

So CNBC has noted that Walmart is starting to lose money and should start shutting down stores. Proof that all economies go in cycles.

About Kristen Jeffers

I'm Kristen. Almost five years ago, I got tired of not seeing black women as nerded out about trains, better streets, riding bikes, walking not just out of necessity, tall buildings, old buildings and honestly a lot of other things. I was in grad school for community and economic development (ok, it’s actually an MPA), and I wanted to make sure people knew I existed and that I could help them do this thing called placemaking better. Five years later, I’m still doing that, although not from my hometown of Greensboro, NC, but from Kansas City, MO. I spend most of my time in Kansas City promoting better biking and walking infrastructure metro-wide with BikeWalk KC and the Kansas City B-cycle. But I also wrote a book A Black Urbanist (you can grab that over on the right) and sometimes I give speeches and help other communities tell their stories at design charrettes and public meetings. I’ve also written or appeared in all of the major “urbanist” publications, either as a subject or as a writer, as well as most of my hometown papers as subject or writer as well.