Down at the heels? Not these transformed cityscapes

Among its other functions, the 32-year-old Project for Public Spaces, a nonprofit urban planning and design organization based in New York and publisher of "The Great Neighborhood Book," likes to salute the best parks, markets, buildings, streets, and even college campuses in cities and towns around the world. Recently, it cited five superlative North American neighborhoods. The top choices in each category:

  • New neighborhood
  • Pearl District, Portland, Ore. Converted industrial zone is now a stylish address built around a new streetcar line
  • Revitalized neighborhood
  • Chapel Street, New Haven, Conn. Renovated theaters for road-testing Broadway plays have revived urban landscape across from Yale University
  • Hip neighborhood
  • The Plateau, Montreal Working-class district that has evolved into a cultural hotbed of cafes, shops, and entertainment venues
  • Small-town neighborhood
  • Division Street, Northfield, Minn. Historic downtown is so "full of energy and charm" that one could "spend an entire day checking it out"
  • Shopping center neighborhood
  • Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, Mo. Fountains, plazas, hidden parking, and Spanish-style architecture give America's first shopping center its special character
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