September 11, 2006

A city of neighborhoods

Note: This post was edited on Jan. 20, 2007. Hotlinked image(s) were removed. Follow the link(s) to the image location(s). Paris map Lewis Mumford (1954) describes Paris as a city of neighborhoods. The Parisian neighborhood is not just a postal district or a political unit, but an historic growth; and the sense of belonging to a particular arrondissement or quartier is just as strong in the shopkeeper, the bistro customer, or the petty craftsman as the sense of being a Parisian. Mumford also describes Venice and Florence as cities of neighborhoods. Venice's neighborhoods are based on medieval church parishes or squares as are Florence's quarters: Santa Maria Novella, Il Duomo, Santa Croce, San Lorenzo, and Santo Spirito and San Frediano in the Oltrarno (see Frommer's). Boston is also a city of neighborhoods. Four panelists in the upcoming Massachusetts Historical Commission conference (September 20) will discuss "the municipal programs that help protect Boston's neighborhoods: neighborhood design overlay districts, the Main Streets Initiative, Boston HomeWorks, and the National Register program." (More details at Serving Neighborhoods through Preservation.) Despite disparaging remarks about its community life, Los Angeles is also a city of neighborhoods (with lots of neighboring and activism). Read Neighborhoods of Los Angeles by Alan Loomis. Added 9/17/2006.

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