A colleague of mine recently authored a blog on the Heritage Hill neighborhood in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Richard Murphy, or “Murph” to his friends, goes into great detail on the important urban elements that make Heritage Hill a jewel in the urban landscape. There are lessons for all of us here.
From Murph’s blog:
“This contrast comes from a few factors:
- Homes are placed on relatively small lots–many less than 1/10 acre.
- Most have very small “yard” areas, with front porches often within a few feet of the sidewalk, and the building occupying most of its lot.
- While there are larger apartment buildings scattered through the neighborhood, the majority of dwelling units are in duplexes or 3- or 4-plexes. Some of these are visibly constructed as “flats”, but most are houses.
- The historic streets are narrow, and off-street parking is limited, dedicating less of the neighborhood’s total acreage to asphalt.
Far from being less desirable as a result, data from GVSU’s Community Research Institute show these neighborhoods having above average shares of young, educated households and above average incomes; property values are strong and rising, and active renovation projects are visible on every block–just the type of talent attraction and local investment outcomes we hope to see from successful strategic placemaking efforts.”
To read the entire blog, go here. I’m sure Murph would enjoy your feedback, too.