The American Planning Association (APA) has named Guthrie Historic District in Guthrie, Oklahoma, 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—attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country. 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.
“The neighborhoods recognized this year demonstrate the importance of planning in creating vibrant, equitable, healthy neighborhoods,” said Cynthia Bowen, FAICP, president of APA. “Through dedicated, community-wide engagement efforts, Guthrie’s historic district is a national example of how a community can work together to create access and opportunity for all.
Guthrie was established in 1887 as a railroad station stop, gaining residents and development during the Land Run of 1889, and later becoming the state capital of Oklahoma in 1907. Through financial struggles and population loss in the mid-twentieth century, the impoverished Guthrie lacked resources to demolish the urban center, and the intact historic core remains today. The historic bones of Guthrie provided a great canvas on which the city proactively implemented innovative initiatives, especially significant in a small, rural town. Dynamic planning, embracing the past, and fostering partnerships with local schools and universities helped Guthrie to creatively envision downtown economic development and bring vitality to the historic core for both residents and visitors.
In addition to Guthrie, APA recognizes the following Great Neighborhoods in 2018:
● Canalway Cultural District – Lowell, Massachusetts
● The Village of Shelburne Falls – Shelburne & Buckland, Massachusetts
● Historic Downtown Georgetown – Georgetown, Texas
● Ghent – Norfolk, Virginia
“19th century Architect Joseph Foucart’s work set the standard for the Victorian influence prominent in Downtown Guthrie,” said Rebecca Blaine, City Planner for the City of Guthrie. “It is truly a preserved gem of not just Guthrie’s history, but Oklahoma’s history. It’s an honor to be recognized nationally as a ‘Great Place’ by APA, and we look forward to preserving our downtown while increasing its vibrancy, walkability, bikeability, and mixed uses.”
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.
For the fifth year, members of the public can suggest their favorite public space, neighborhood, or street to earn a “People’s Choice” designation. Throughout October, individuals can offer suggestions via APA’s social media channels using the hashtag #APAgreatplaces. APA will select five finalists that the public can vote on via APA’s website. The “People’s Choice” winner is announced in early November 2018.
For more information about these neighborhoods, as well as APA’s Great Streets and Great Public Spaces for 2018 and previous years, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces.
Learn more about APA’s National Community Planning Month by visiting www.planning.org/ncpm.