Neighbors and Neighborhoods

Elements of Successful Community Design

By Sidney Brower

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Originally published in 2011 — e-book version released in 2013.

How does the design of a neighborhood affect the people who live there? In this thoughtful, engaging book, Sidney Brower explains how a neighborhood's design lays the groundwork for the social relationships that make it a community.

Blending social science with personal interviews, Brower shares the lessons of planned communities from historic Riverside, Illinois, to archetypal Levittown, New York, and Disney's Celebration, Florida. Through these inspirational stories, readers will discover the characteristics of neighborhoods that promote the attitudes and behaviors of a healthy community.

Part of the Citizens Planning Series at APA Planners Press, Neighbors & Neighborhoods is an eye-opener for everyone who's wondered what makes their local neighborhoods tick.


Introduction (pdf)

About the Author

Sidney BrowerSidney Brower is a professor of urban studies and planning at the University of Maryland. He previously worked as an architect in Cape Town, South Africa, and as a planner for the City of Baltimore before joining the faculty at the University of Maryland. He has been a visiting scholar to Peking University, in Beijing, China, visiting faculty member at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and a guest lecturer at the State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Oct. 1, 2013
Adobe PDF
APA Planners Press

Table of Contents

Part 1: Social Science Research

Chapter 1: What Is Community?

Part 2: Development Histories

Chapter 2: Homogeneity
Roland Park, Baltimore, Maryland, 1891
Radburn, New Jersey, 1929
Twin Oaks Community, Louisa, Virginia, 1967
Seaside, Florida, 1982

Chapter 3: Community Organizations
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, 1902
Levittown, Long Island, New York, 1947
Celebration, Florida, 1996
The Community of Rosebank, Baltimore, 1970s-1980s

Chapter 4: Suitable Physical Settings
Riverside, Illinois, 1868
Letchworth Garden City, United Kingdom, 1903
The Neighborhood Unit Formula, 1928
Columbia, Maryland, 1967
Lake Claire Cohousing, Atlanta, 1977

Chapter 5: Ongoing Traditions and the Historical Past
Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1912
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, 1703
Mariemont, Ohio, 1922
Opa-locka, Florida, 1925

Part 3: Community Design

Chapter 6: The Appearance of Community
A Unified Composition
Common Theme

Chapter 7: Community-Generating Neighborhoods
Ten Properties of a Community-Generating Neighborhood
Four Types of Community
Five Qualities of a Good Community Design

Chapter 8: Policy, Management, and Process
Study 1: The Neighborhood Store
Study 2: Mixed Income Communities
Study 3: The Planning Process as a Generator of Community




"What a refreshing book for a time when formalist megadevelopments are de rigueur! Sidney Brower takes us on a thoughtful, multidisciplinary tour of once-planned American communities: from counterculture to company towns, from HOPE VI to Disney, and from the familiar (Radburn) to the peculiar (Opa-locka). His eye for the telling detail and his quiet observations lead to keen insights about community categorization and what makes for successful communities by their own measures — be they tight-knit, fragile, transitory, or privacy worshiping. He blends sociology and design in a way that is reminiscent of Kevin Lynch's seminal Image of the City in its simplicity and utility. You will not look at (or plan for) communities quite the same now."

— John Shapiro, Chair, Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment, Pratt Institute