The American Planning Association (APA) recently named Ghent in Norfolk, Virginia, as one of five Great Neighborhoods on APA’s annual Great Places in America list, which starts the countdown to National Community Planning Month in October.
APA’s Great Places in America program recognizes the streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces in the United States demonstrating exceptional character, quality, and planning.
The Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets, and Great Public Spaces of 2018 are places that are unique and exemplary in their amenities and infrastructure, cultural identity, and use of sustainable and innovative practices.
As Norfolk experienced a surge of growth in the late 19th century, Ghent was developed as a streetcar suburb. The Norfolk Company surveyed and platted the land for single-family homes and hired John Graham, a civil engineer from Philadelphia, to design the new high-end suburb.
Ghent was laid out in a grid pattern with an emphasis on broad tree-lined avenues, large areas of green space and a series of waterfront arches created by filling portions of the shoreline of Smith’s Creek. Since those days of industrial growth, Ghent has adapted to changing social and environmental circumstances.
Today, the neighborhood of Ghent is a diverse community addressing the reality of sea level rise, and striving toward social and environmental resilience.
Since launching the Great Places in America program in 2007, APA has recognized 290 neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces around the country. Designees are selected annually and represent the gold standard for a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for the future.
The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating great communities for all.
For more information, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces.