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No More Orphans
Guest, September 21, 2012 | Name Your Neighborhood
By Ari Klugman, City Manager Intern
From our research, we know that cities tend to take one of two approaches with respect to neighborhood identification. One approach is what I will call the “organic” approach. Neighborhood associations develop naturally from neighbors coming together for a common purpose.
Eventually the boundaries of the association define the neighborhood. The downside to this approach is that often areas are left out and sometimes those areas are too small to form an association on their own. These areas are referred to as “orphans” which are small stretches of area that, for some reason, were never included in a neighborhood.
Both of these maps are of real cities (Vancouver, WA and Madison, WI) and the patchwork colors represent real neighborhood associations. In both of these maps, the white areas are the orphans. I want to recognize there is nothing wrong with letting the associations develop completely naturally, and leaving orphaned areas.
However, Edina has decided to take a different approach to neighborhood identification. We developed a citywide map where all geographic areas within our community are included in a neighborhood. The goal is for every resident to have a neighborhood and the opportunity to form or belong to a civic neighborhood association if they so choose – hence no orphans!
As I have been researching, I have come across many Cities who have developed maps to be inclusive without Orphans before us. I thought I would share some of those maps, too, to help you get an idea of the end goal. (From top to bottom: Santa Monica, Calif., St. Louis Park, Minneapolis, Portland, Ore.)