The American Planning Association, the premier organization for urban planners, just released a list of the Top 10 Great Places in America. It’s a list of which “celebrates places of exemplary character, quality, and planning.”

“The designated neighborhoods and streets are defined by several characteristics, including good design, functionality, sustainability, and community involvement.”

Included in the list is one part of Illinois: West Urbana in Urbana.

I didn’t realize Urbana (and Champaign) had definable neighborhoods like I think of when New York, Chicago and San Francisco come to mind. Thankfully, the APA has a description of West Urbana and why it was chosen to be included as one of America’s best neighborhoods.

The American Planning Association has selected West Urbana as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods in America for 2007 in recognition of the neighborhood’s sustainable design; commuters who walk, bike, or ride transit at higher-than-average rates; inviting neighborhood spaces; and community focus on enhancing quality of life.

It also goes on to say how many children walk or bike to school – an activity that has declined greatly since before the 80s. The neighborhood is also very picturesque with large shade trees and narrow streets. Fortunately, to further bike use in the city, Urbana is working on a bike master plan.

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