What Makes a Traditional Neighborhood?

traditional neighborhood

Today, it can be hard to come across neighborhoods that have that “community” feel. That often falls on the town planner and not the inhabitants. Many new communities are incorporating  custom homes with a traditional neighborhood design which is a planning concept that calls for residential neighborhoods to be designed in the format of small, early 20th century villages and neighborhoods. So, what are some qualities and characteristics of a traditional neighborhood?


Traditional Neighborhood Design

  1. Mixed-Use Development

Traditional neighborhoods use compact designs to combine residential and commercial properties. Single-use zoning doesn’t allow convenience goods or services to co-exist in the same area as residential housing. This forces residents to commute (usually by car) to the nearest store. With mixed-use development, automobile usage can be cut down by placing commercial properties within walking distance of residential areas. This is where Main Street was born.

  1. Minimum Residential Density

Typically, quarter-acre single-family lots are the minimum necessary to create a reasonably walkable area that looks and feels like a traditional neighborhood. Minimum limits allow neighborhoods to create that community feel without being all sprawled out like a subdivision. There’s typically no upper limit on residential density but once densities start to exceed around 30 units per square acre, multi-family apartment buildings become necessary.

  1. Walkable Streets

Subdivisions designed with cul-de-sacs often aren’t home to many neighborhood walkers. That’s because it forces pedestrians to take circular routes to get to where they’re going and as a result, people use their cars to get around. Traditional neighborhoods often implement grid street designs to allow for high walkability rates. Other pedestrian amenities are added as well such as sidewalks, lighting and benches to encourage more walking.

  1. Public Parks and Town Squares

In the early days of neighborhood development, town greens were used for public meetings, markets and even animal grazing. A town square may serve a few different purposes today, but the same idea is there. Public parks are imperative to traditional neighborhood design because most homes have smaller private yards. These parks also provide visual “breaks” in the built environment.


There are many kinds of houses for sale in Pittsburgh and its surrounding area. When you buy a house you also invest in the neighborhood, the community and the people around you. If you’re looking for homes that fall within the traditional neighborhood design, look no further than Venango Trails. We have a variety of homes including cottages, artisan homes, park homes and manors to select from. Start your future today with Venango Trails.

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