San Francisco, California

The unique sense of place found within this ethnic enclave comes not only from the architecture and compact street grid but a cultural identity that has persevered for more than 160 years. Despite its reputation as a tourist attraction — it is San Francisco's third most-popular visitor destination — Chinatown is an immigrant gateway and cultural capital, a touchstone for Chinese throughout America as well as the 150,000–plus San Franciscans of Chinese heritage.

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Downtown Norwich/Chelsea Landing

Norwich, Connecticut

It was a grand vision put forth in a 1971 waterfront plan — and a $12-million dollar gamble by a local developer who had faith in the plan — that saved historic downtown Norwich. The neighborhood, some 350 years in the making, continues its progress with the guidance of synergistic planning efforts, community involvement, and tens of millions of dollars in public and private investments that have both preserved and enhanced the downtown's natural and man-made assets.

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Downtown Decatur

Decatur, Georgia

Constantly changing and evolving, downtown Decatur's character comes from the successful marriage of historic and contemporary buildings and uses. The emergence of downtown as a dynamic and prosperous neighborhood spans more than three decades and is a story of planning, commitment, patience, and investment.

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Central Street Neighborhood

Evanston, Illinois

Combine an edgy urban vibe with a small-town pace and sensibility and the result is Evanston's Central Street neighborhood. A traditional neighborhood in many respects, Central Street also is a regional destination with an eclectic mix of homegrown businesses and eateries.

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Downtown Mason City

Mason City, Iowa

Home to the only remaining Frank Lloyd Wright hotel and one of two remaining Wright-designed banks, the view from Federal Avenue and State Street is inspiring, reflecting the clean lines and character of Wright's vision and Mason City's late 19th- and early 20th-century Prairie School heritage.

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Historic Licking Riverside

Covington, Kentucky

The Licking Riverside Neighborhood's original river mansions demonstrate every major evolutionary style of American architecture from 1815 to 1920. The Thomas Carneal House, the first brick house in Covington, was built in 1815 complete with a tunnel leading to the Licking River. On the west boundary sits Roebling Point, Covington's original business district. Visitors to these shops and restaurants have said, "It's almost like you're in Paris."

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

Reminiscent of a sleepy rural hamlet but with decidedly more urbane architecture and scenic vistas, Kenwood Addition is both engaging and engaged. Its residents have a deep appreciation of their neighborhood's history and assets and just as strong a desire to honor and protect them.

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Beaufort Historic District

Beaufort, South Carolina

A sense of timelessness pervades the Beaufort Historic District, a neighborhood distinguished by stunning vistas and architecture spanning more than 250 years. That's not to say this quaint district is a throwback in time. Rather, it is a place that embraces its past, employing principles and precedents that are as relevant today as when the district was first planned in 1711.

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West Freemason

Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk's West Freemason neighborhood was almost completely destroyed by the British during the Revolutionary War. Since then, the neighborhood has faced obstacles and trials, including one in the 1960s that would have once again leveled the area. Because it survived, West Freemason contains the majority of Norfolk's pre–Civil War structures.

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Madison, Wisconsin

Located on Madison's Isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, Williamson-Marquette is one of Madison's oldest neighborhoods. From its earliest beginnings in the late 1850s, Marquette, as it commonly is known, has embraced diversity. Grand Victorian homes were built along the lakefront, and single family Queen Annes and two flats filled the adjacent grid. Along Williamson, the neighborhood main street, modest workers' cottages were sandwiched between shops, taverns, implement dealers, and blacksmiths.

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