Romanticizing Pullman, one of the nation’s great neighborhoods

The American Planning Association has select Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood as one of its Great Places in America for 2011:

Pullman’s timeless features have contributed to the renaissance of this handsome former company town. An experiment in industrial order and community planning, the neighborhood features a design that was intelligent in 1880 and “smart” today. The mix of land uses, diversity of dwellings, and proximity to schools, shops, parks, and public transportation attract those who appreciate a historic, urban community with a small-town feel — a place voted the world’s most perfect town more than a century ago.

Given its history and character Pullman is one of those places that are easy to romanticize and easier to misunderstand. But then, isn’t that what urban planners do?

If you’ve spent much time on the ground in Pullman, you may find it harder to feel Pullman’s attractions than if you’ve visited briefly. You’ll find the forest of Pullman’s “renaissance” difficult to discern among the trees of depopulation, decay, disinvestment and poverty.

In the above video, one of a series, developer Saul Klibanow drives around a part of the neighborhood, talking about what he sees. You can see much more of Pullman in this YoChicago video playlist at YouTube.

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