Arnold, PA- a distressed Allegheny River town with good urban bones and neighbor to New Kensington

The land on which Arnold currently stands was purchased in 1781 but it wasn’t developed until the late 1800s. Arnold was originally part of the City of New Kensington from 1891 until 1896 until it incorporated as a separate borough. The portion of Arnold btwn the river and Constitution Blvd is the oldest and most distressed portion of the borough. East of Constitution development ranges between 1900-1940s and generally is more stable. Arnold maxed out at around 11K residents in 1940 and has since fallen to just under 5K.

5th Avenue is the historic business district for Arnold but has fallen on pretty hard times with only a handful of businesses still open and a good number of vacant lots and vacant storefronts. I don’t see much hope for a population reversals in Arnold unless the City embraces immigrants. There is a sliver of hope for this as 4% of the population is Hispanic. A more attainable and likely strategy for Arnold is to spend its efforts revitalizing its 5th Avenue core, removing blight and stabilizing the old part of town, and reinvesting in the newer portion of town between Constitution and Freeport to build on existing market strengths. Arnold has decent density and mixed-use fabric giving me some hope that it could become a decent urban environment once again. There are also some good revitalization efforts occurring along the main street of its neighbor, New Kensington.

Click here to view my Arnold album on Flickr


* Good street connectivity.
* Good racial diversity and decent generational.
* Few 1-beds but good # of 2 & 3 beds that range btwn $800-$1,000.
* While public transit is limited dwtn is only a 25-30 minute drive.
* Decent urban density and good urban bones.


* Sidewalk infrastructure is generally good but very few ADA standard curb cuts.
* Poor public transit access.
* No biking infrastructure to speak of.
* Wide spread poverty and not a lot of income diversity in Arnold.
* A couple of schools in the core of Arnold but poorly rate. Decent elementary school on the eastern edge of town.
* Arnold has a pretty high crime rate and a lot of blight to accompany it.
*Lots of depressed hsg in Arnold selling below 60K but some well maintained product too selling in the 100Ks.  2-beds sell btwn 20K-150K, 3 & 4 beds sell anywhere btwn 35K-185K.
* Okay park amenities including a decent river park, a playground and the cemetery.
* Limited cultural amenities including a handful of restaurants & bars, and a couple cafes. Better cultural amenities in New Kensington which is within 1 mile.
* Retail amenities are also limited including a couple banks, a furniture store, a couple boutiques, a couple gyms & dessert joints, a post office, and lots of churches.

Freeport, PA- an Allegheny Rivertown built on free port access

I included only the cohesive urban portion of Freeport in this evaluation. Freeport was first settled in the 1760s. The town received its name when David Todd declared the town to be a free and open port allowing boats to tie up along the river free of charge. Freeport’s position on the Allegheny river gave it an ideal spot for industry and trade going to Pittsburgh. This lead to the creation of several industrials throughout the 19th century including the Lucesco Oil Refinery and the Freeport Brick Company. Even for a Western PA river towns, freeport is quite small sitting at just 1,700 people. Its seen plenty of decline since its peak likely around 1930 but has done a decent job managing the decline with few vacant homes left standing. There is a 2-block commercial district along 5th street with some stores and food & beverage businesses with a decent sense of space. This is only a couple blocks away from a nice river front park. Surprisingly a decent # of homes selling in the 200Ks in Freeport and the town boasts good park amenities and good sidewalk and ADA curb infrastructure.

I don’t see much hope for a population reversal in Freeport so the most attainable positive urban impact would be revitalizing 5th Street’s many vacant storefronts and building up the popularity of the town. Freeport could encourage more immigration to at least stabilize its population as well.

Click here to view my Freeport album on Flickr


* Decent sidewalks with about half of the curbs up to modern ADA standards.
* Great economic diversity and decent generational.
* While Freeport has some blight it is a very safe community.
* Decent for sale diversity. Really no 1-beds available. 2-beds sell anywhere btwn 60K-120. 3 & 4 bed sell btwn 30K-300K, with a good number of well invested homes selling in the 200Ks.
* Good park amenities including an attractive riverside park, the expansive Freeport Community Park, the Market Street Park.
* Decent urban massing.


* Pretty low density for an urban area.
* Public transit is extremely limited in Freeport.
* While no transit exist, Freeport is only 30 min drive to downtown Pittsburgh.
* No bike infrastructure to speak of.
* Limited racial diversity as 95% of the population is white.
* Only the public middle school is open and in town.
* Very limited rentals, at least listed on Zillow. Very affordable however.
* Some cultural amenities including a decent amount of food & beverage bizs, a brewery, and a community theater.
* Retail amenities are limited to a family dollar, a couple boutiques & gift shops, a couple dessert joints, a gym, an antiques store, a couple banks, a doctor’s office, a local library and post office, and  several churches.
* Really no infill architecture to speak of.

Ford City, PA- a Company Town Originally built by PPG Industries

Ford City was founded in 1887 as a company town by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company (now PPG Industries) as the site for its Works No. 3 glass factory. The town was named in honor of the company founder, John Baptiste Ford. In its heyday the factory employed as many as 5,000 workers. The PPG plant shut down 1990s and another large employer, Eljer Plumbing, shut down in 2008. Like most Western PA towns, Ford City’s population peaked in 1930 at 6,000 residents and has been in a steady decline ever since and now stands at just under 3,000 residents. Ford City has done a good job managing its decline quickly demolishing abandoned homes and allowing neighborhoods to purchase them for expanded yards. Most of the vacancies are empty storefronts.

From an urban perspective Ford City does well with well maintained sidewalks and updated ADA curb cuts, quality walkable schools, a wonderful street grid, good distribution of parks, high levels of safety, and decent retail amenities. I don’t see much hope for a population reversal, so the most biggest positive urban impact would be revitalizing Dwtn’s many vacant storefronts and building up the vibe in the town.

Click here to view my Ford City album on Flickr


* Good sidewalk infrastructure and most intersections have up to date ADA curbs.
* Highly connected and efficient street grid.
* Nice recreational trail running along the river.
* Decent generational diversity.
* Well rated middle/high school along with a Catholic grade school within Ford City. Elementary school is just outside of Ford City.
* A couple buildings dedicated to affordable rentals.
* Several small-medium sized parks well distributed throughout Ford City.
* Decent retail amenities including a supermarket, a couple drug store, a couple dollar generals, several banks, lots of salons, a Hallmark store, a couple dessert/bakeries, a gym, several medical offices and churches, and a public library & post office.
* Pretty safe community and not a lot of blight here other than vacant store fronts.
* Some nice historic architecture, esp. in the business district, but homes are generally rather plain.
* Good streetscaping done on Ford St maybe 30 years ago. Other commercial streets are pretty dated.


* Density is so so and pretty low for a urban area.
* Very limited public transit access.
* 45 minute drive to Dwtn Pittsburgh. No feasible public transit options.
* Largely a White City with a small Black and likely growing Hispanic population.
* Not much for sale diversity as housing stock is generally very affordable. 1 beds very limited. 2-beds sell btwn 50K-90K,3 & 4 beds sell btwn 50K-150K.
* Rentals are very limited but affordable.
* Cultural amenities are limited to some restaurants, bars & cafes.
* In-fill is limited to a couple decent mixed-use and apt bldgs in the center of town.
* Pedestrian traffic is pretty limited.

Kittanning, PA- Historic Native American Village and Home to the Armstrong County Seat

I included most of urban Kittanning except the portion east of Victory St as this part of Kittanning felt pretty disconnected from the center of town.  Kittanning was founded on the site of the eighteenth-century Lenape village of Kittanning at the western end of the Kittanning Path, an ancient Native American path. Sadly during the French and Indian War the village was destroyed at the Battle of Kittanning. The borough was settled by European Americans mostly  after the American Revolutionary War. By the early 20th century, the City had developed considerable industry similar to manufacturing across the Pittsburgh region. Kittanning reached its peak on 1930 at 7,800 and has been on a slow decline since hosting around 4,000 residents. Its important to note that Kittanning was one of the largest cities along the Allegheny River east of Pittsburgh through the 19th century reaching 1,700 souls during the Civil War and 4,000 in 1900.

Thanks to its designation as the County seat of Armstrong County, Kittanning has a historically expansive business district focused on Market Street but stretching several blocks to the south and a couple blocks to the north. Market street connects the riverfront and County Court House and jail creating a pretty striking visual. To the north of Market street are several blocks of attractive mid-late 19th century architecture and along the river is an expensive well designed riverfront park. Market street still retains most of its form but vacancies are quite prolific. The business district south of Market St is mixed-bag hosting many parking lots, auto centric uses, and underutilized buildings. Many walkable business and a solid public middle and high school still remain in the center city. While I’d love to see the borough’s population increase a more realistic goal for this Western PA town is strong investments in Market Street to eliminate blight, open new businesses, and create a better vibe for the town. Kittanning biggest challenge is its aging population (average age is 50 years old). This does not bode well for stabilizing the city’s population. 

Click here to view my Kittanning Album on Flickr


* Solid ADA and sidewalk infrastructure esp. in the core of the Kitanning.
* Nice recreational trail that cuts through the length of Kittanning. Limited bike infrastructure otherwise.
* Excellent gridded and connected streets.
* Good walkable high school and middle school but not much else
* Lengthy and well designed riverfront park in Kittanning. Also a good playground and an YMCA with an indoor pool.
* Good retail amenities including a supermarket, family dollar, a couple pharmacies, several banks, several clothing & consignment stores, a furniture store, a hardware store, several salons, a couple gyms, a local public library & post office, lots of churches, a couple doctor’s offices and the general hospital is a couple miles away.
* Solid imageability with a the courthouse centrally located at the end of the main business district that connects to the riverfront.
* Some excellent historic architecture esp. in the center of town.
* Lots of dedicated senior and affordable housing here.
* Good urban form and streetscaping along Market St.
* Impressive size to Kittanning’s mixed use area.


* Pretty low density for an urban area. 
* Transit access is very limited here.
* Aging population with the median age of 50 years old and not a lot of family households w/ kids.
* Very White population with limited racial diversity.
* Economic diversity not great either.
* Decent # of rentals, esp. 1-beds but all very affordable.
* Not much for sale diversity as housing stock is generally very affordable. 1 beds very limited. 2-beds sell btwn 50K-200K,3 & 4 beds sell btwn 50K-230K.
* Okay cultural amenities including a decent # of restaurants, a couple cafes, and several bars. a couple bars that do live music, a couple local museums, and a bowling alley.
* Some crime here and certainly blight but not an unsafe community by any means.
* Good amount of auto centric modern infill on the south end of town but also some decent urban in-fill sprinkled in throughout.
* Urban form and streetscaping of commercial south of Market St is hit or miss.

Vandergrift- Western Pennyslvania’s Olmsted Planned Industrial Town

North of Walnut street is the stable well planned portion of Vandegrift. South of Walnut street Vandergrift becomes more working class and gritty. This is also the unplanned part of the community seemingly untouched by Olmsted’s plan for the town.

Early in the 20th century, Vandergrift had the largest sheet steel mill in the world. Yet this ended in a bitter labor dispute with the Apollo Iron and Steel Company in the 1890s. In an attempt to avoid future unrest, the company sought to gain tighter control over its workforce and decided to provide workers with good housing and a good urban environment to foster  loyal and productive employees. The company hired Olmsted, Olmsted and Eliot to design a model industrial town resulting in a well laid out borough with curvilinear streets, well placed commercial district, tree lined streets and good park spaces. Homeownership rates among workers remained high and in general the plan worked creating a steel town where a relatively cordial relationship existed between the steel company and Vandergrift residents.

Vandergrift’s population peaked in 1930 at 11,500 but as with most western PA towns, its populational has more than halved since to 5K residents. Still Vandergrift’s urban form has remained largely in tact with mostly occupied buildings, many businesses, and better stability than most similar industrial river towns in the region. Vandergrift also excels at affordable housing, decent walkability good tree canopy, decent park and cultural amenities, and a diversity array of retail options. I’d of course love to see density increase in Vandergrift but this is an up hill battles for a Western PA industrial town. The best we can likely hope for with an improved urban environment is better bike infrastructure, more housing diversity, a supermarket, and updated streetscaping.

Click here to view my Vandergrift Album on Flickr


* Pretty good ADA infrastructure and sidewalks. Generally sidewalks exist and about 50% of the curb cuts are up to modern standards.
* Good generational diversity and decent economic but incomes are on the low side here.
* Olmsted’s curvilinear streets make be a bit disorienting but connectivity and efficiently are still good and it leads to some very good place making.
* Vandergrift has some grit but a pretty safe place to live.
* Tree canopy is pretty good, clearly much fuller in the north half of town.
* Some excellent historic commercial and great homes along Washington Ave but most residential is very working class in typology.
* Decent parks with the larger Kennedy and Franklin Parks.
* Decent cultural amenities including good food & beverage bizs, a brewery & winery, a performing arts center, a local museum.
* Good retail amenities too including a couple drug stores, a dollar general, several boutiques & gift shops,  a couple florists,  several banks, a couple homes/furniture  stores, several dessert joints and bakeries, a couple gyms, lots of churches, a local public library & post office, and several medical offices.
* Solid urban form along Vandergrift’s main biz district (Grant St) and other mixed-uses. 


* Density is so so.
* Some public transit but generally pretty limited.
* About a 45-50 minute drive to Dwtn.
* No bike infrastructure to speak of.
* Walkable schools in the Borough consist of a quality great school and small parochial school. Public high school and middle school are good but out in the suburbs.
* Some rentals and generally very affordable. Limited diversity in offering.
* For sale hsg options are all pretty limited and generally very affordable. 2-beds sell btwn 40K-125K, 3 & 4 beds sell anywhere btwn 30K-150K.
* Missing a supermarket in town.
* Some poor urban form (parking lots and industrial uses) along Lincoln Ave.
* Really no modern in-fill to speak of.
* Streetscaping is fine but dated.

Clinton, MS- hosts Mississippi oldest College and now a Suburb of Jackson

The urban core of Clinton is very small (only .12 square miles) formed by College St. to the South, Clinton Pkwy to the East, West St. to the west and the rail road to the north.

In 1828, the city changed its name to Clinton in honor of DeWitt Clinton, the former governor of New York who led the completion of the Erie Canal. The first road through Clinton was the Natchez Trace. Clinton has the distinction of hosting’s the state’s oldest college, Mississippi College founded in 1826. Like many towns in the South, Clinton remained small before WWII fluctuating between 350-900 residents between 1880-1940. Clinton’s post war population boomed as it became a rapidly growing suburb in metro Jackson.

While Jackson is a pleasant and stable college town within a 15 minute drive of Dwtn Jackson it has a chilling racist past. In the 1870s during the reconstructionist era White insurgents disrupted a voting rally, attacking blacks in what was called the “Clinton Riot.” It resulted in the deaths of several white men and an estimated 50 blacks and was part of the movement in the south to reverse voting rights and the elections of African Americans.

The small historic core of Clinton is pleasant and generally walkable with several food & beverage businesses, some retail, attractive historic homes and commercial, nice tree lined streets, and convenient access to Mississippi College. It would be nice to see more density in the historic core with the additional of a couple mixed-use buildings catering to college students along with more walkable schools in the historic core. Really no public transit to speak of in Clinton and limited (if any) bus options to Dwtn Jackson.

Click here to view my Clinton, MS album on Flickr


* Great access to Mississippi College, which employees about 1,000 people.
* Good connectivity.
* Great diversity, especially racial and economic.
* Attractive historic residential and commercial architecture. Attractive collegiate architecture as well.
* Excellent Tree canopy.
* Decent park including several sports fields, a pocket park and all the green space in the college quads.
* Culturally a good # of food & beverage bizs, a couple art galleries, a historic museum, a historic home and the performing arts coming from the college.
* Supermarket & Drug store just outside the Clinton Historic Core. Within the Historic Core there are a several boutiques & gift stores, a college bookstore, a bank, several salons, a post office, a couple medical offices, and several churches. Plenty of other retail amenities in Clinton but in the outskirts and not walkable to the core.
* Clinton is one of the most safe communities in MS.
* Nice block and 1/2 commercial node at Jefferson and Main. Good streetscaping and urban form here too.
* Decent pedestrian activity.


* Low Density for an urban neighborhood.
* Decent sidewalk infrastructure but about 1/3 of all streets are without sidewalks and very few proper ADA curb cuts.
* Really not public transit to speak of here. Not even sure if there is a connection to Dwtn Jackson.
 * Dwtn Jackson is only a 20 drive to Clinton but all other modes of transit are very limited.
* No bike infrastructure to speak of here.
* Modern infill is very limited.
* A couple Christian schools within and around the Historic Core. Good public schools in Clinton but all in the outskirts and not walkable.

Belhaven- Jackson’s best Urban District

I included most of the traditional areas of Belhaven but excluded the area west of West St. as this is a rather blighted part of the neighborhood and the sliver between the railroad and highway to the east as this is an industrial area.

Belhaven is named after Confederate veteran Jones S. Hamilton’s house, which became the namesake of Belhaven University. Fortification Street, which runs East and West through Belhaven paved over what was once one of the last Confederate battle lines during the Siege of Jackson. Belhaven Heights is the neighborhood’s wealthiest enclave and noticeably more hilly than the rest of the district. Because it hosts several universities and hospitals many of Belhaven’s residents are either faculty or staff working at these institutions. The neighborhood is one of Jackson’s wealthiest communities.

Urban form is not great in Belhaven and the neighborhood lacks a convincing urban business node as found in Fondren. The most promising area for urbanity is the mixed-use node at Jefferson and Manship and the hospital district to the west. State Ave is very mixed-use but the urban form is uninspiring and autocentric. Most residential areas lack sidewalks but connectivity is still decent. For Belhaven to become an quality urban district it needs to densify and create more mixed-use urban infill along State Ave and around the Jefferson and Manship node.

Click here to view my Belhaven album on Flickr


* Great access to Dwtn being just north of it.
* Decent connectivity.
* Excellent racial and economic diversity. Decent generational diversity.
* Belhaven is generally a safe area but the western edge is a bit rough.
* Several excellent schools along the northern border of Belhaven. A couple other schools throughout the neighborhood.
* No 1-bed homes but decent diversity elsewhere. 2-beds sell btwn 75K-300K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 130K-350K.
* Decent park amenities including a playground, recreational trail, a couple medium sized parks, decent quad open space in the two universities, and the expansive LeFleur’s State Park is on its Northeastern border.
* Good cultural amenities including a good # of food & bev businesses, a community theater, cultural amenities from the two universities, a couple live music venues, a College Art Museum, and several historic homes.
* Okay retail amenities too including a supermarket, a couple drug stores & banks, an interesting general store, a couple gift shops, a couple dessert joints & gyms, and convenient access to 3 hospitals and medical offices.
* Attractive first half of the 20th century architecture with some nice historic university buildings as well.
* Good tree canopy, especially north of Fortification.


* Low density for an urban neighborhood.
* Nice recreational path along the eastern boundary of Belhaven but not really no other bike infrastructure here.
* Other than the colleges, pedestrian activity is limited here.
* Rentals are pretty limited. Few 1-beds. 2-beds lease in the low-mid 1Ks. 3-beds lease btwn the mid 1Ks to 2K.
* Missing a local library & post office, few churches, and no department or big box stores.
* Most of modern in-fill is pretty ugly and auto centric but some decent urban infill around the Baptist Hospital.
* Urban form and streetscaping are generally sub par. Some hope at Jefferson and Manship with some mixed-use business opening and close proximity to the Baptist Hospital.
* Other than State Ave and Fortification, and a couple other spots, sidewalks are largely absent from the neighborhood.

Fondren- Jackson’s wealhiest community and home to the City’s highest concentration of hospital

I excluded the portion of Fondren north of the Eubanks Creek as this is the most suburban part of the neighborhood and most disconnected from the urban node along State St.

Fondren has an interesting history as it was once home to the Mississippi Lunatic Asylum and known as ‘Sylum Heights’. It was annexed by the city in 1925 and the Asylum was eventually replaced with a bustling and vibrant medical community, (i.e. University of Mississippi Medical Center and St. Dominic’s Hospital). The Neighborhood’s commercial district along State and Mitchell was built up by the 1930s and residential areas filled in by WWII. Like most of Jackson, Fondren was started to decline in the 1980s with the region’s intense movement away from the City into the suburbs. Fortunately Fondren residents rallied and were able to reverse course with a strong community organization (called Fondren Renaissance Foundation) and the neighborhood stabilized. Fondren along with Belhaven to the south are Jackson’s most prosperous neighborhoods and still manage to have good racial and economic diversity.

Fondren isn’t great from an urban perspective. The Mitchell and State Ave road is a decent two block urban commercial district and there is some urbanity in the hospital district, but most residential areas, albeit developed between the 1930s and 1950, lack sidewalks and have the density and connectivity more similar to a suburb. There has been some mixed-use infill along State Street. I hope this continues and connects to the Fondren Hospital district helping to create a real urban node in the neighborhood.

Click here to view my Fondren Album on Flickr


* Good access to Dwtn given Fondren is only 2 miles away. Fondren also hosts an expansive Hospital Complex.
* Nice two block long commercial node along State St.
* Good diversity statistic especially economic and racial.
* Other than the western edge of the neighborhood Fondren is very safe.
* Decent # of rentals especially 2-beds. 1-beds lease around $850, 2-beds generally in sf homes lease btwn 1K-1.5K, and some 3-beds that lease for a bit more.
* No 1-bed homes but decent diversity elsewhere. 2-beds sell btwn 75K-225K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 125K-500K. Some larger homes sell for more.
* Very dense tree canopy outside of the hospital district.
* Good cultural amenities, especially for Jackson, including many food & beverage business centered around Mitchell and State Ave., a couple live music venues, a historic movie theater, a couple art galleries, and several museums along Fondren eastern border.
* Good retail amenities including a Piggly Wiggly, a couple grocerias, several drug stores & banks, some boutiques/clothing stores, good number of gift shops and unique retail options, a couple florists, a local post office, and several major hospitals and tons of medical offices


* Sidewalks existing on about a1/3 of the neighborhood and ADA curbs are even less frequent.
* Biking infrastructure is almost non-existent.
* Public Transit access is so so.
* Limited # of schools within Fondren but some excellent ones along its southern border with Belhaven.
* Only one smaller park within Fondren. Expansive state park on the SE corner of the neighborhood but located across a highway.
* Very low density for an urban district.
* Missing a local library, few churches, and no department or big box stores.
* Much of the retail is along auto centric roads and not terribly walkable.
* Much of the modern infill is auto centric strip development but some decent infill at Mitchell and State and the Hospital architecture is ok.

Zeeland Place/Zee Zee Gardens- Baton Rouge’s most Exclusive Historic Neighborhood

Zeeland Place/Zee Zee Gardens is a higherend mostly residential area developed between the 1930s-1950s. Unlike the Garden District or Capital Heights neighborhoods to the north, Zeeland Place never experienced any disinvestment and has remained one of Baton Rouge’s strongest real estate markets.

There is a decent concentration of restaurants, bars, and retail amenities along Perkins Rd and I-10 with some assemblance of urban form. But walkability isn’t great in Zeeland Place with mediocre public transit, a lack of sidewalks along residential streets, and very low density. But the neighborhood excels at more traditional suburban amenities including quality schools, low crime rate, good park access, a thick canopy, and well maintained homes. Zeeland Place has very convenient driving access to Dwtn and is pretty quick to bike to as well. Similar to Capital Heights, I don’t see much likelihood of a major urban transformation here but a good place to start would be creating more mixed-use apartments along the main throughfare, Perkins St.

Click here to view my Zeeland Place Album on my Flickr Page


* Solid access to Dwtn especially via car and bike. Public transit access is okay.
* A couple dedicated bike stations located in Zeeland plus a dedicate bike path nearby running thru City-Brooks Community Park.
* Lots of family households in Zeeland Place.
* Not a ton of schools but a handful large ones that are rated well.
* Pretty thick tree canopy here.
* Good access to the expansive City Brooks Community Park, but not much else in Zeeland Place Parkwise.
* Crime is very low here. Probably one of Baton’s Rouge’s safest communities.
* Attractive 1920s-1950 homes


* Very low density for an urban area.
* Sidewalk comprise only about 1/3 of all streets and are concentrated on the main streets. Really not ADA curbs to speak of.
* Connectivity is so so. Good number of dead end and curvilinear streets.
* Limited economic and racial diversity as this is higher end White neighborhood.
* Rentals are limited in Zeeland Place. What does exist is on the higher end.
* For sale housing is generally higher end. No 1-beds but a fair amount of 2-beds including a handful of condos. They sell btwn 150K-500K. 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 250K-650K. Handful of mansions in the district that sell for around 1M.
* Okay culturally including a decent # of food & beverage businesses concentrated along Perkins, convenient access to a couple museums at the City Brooks Community Park and a golf course.
,* Okay retail amenities including a Trader Joe’s, a bookstore, a couple gift shops & boutiques, a several banks,  a book store, several salons, a couple churches, a dessert joint and post office.
* A handful of commercial bldgs with decent urban form along Perkins but mostly strip malls and auto centric bldgs.

Capital Heights- An attractive 1920s/30s Historic Neighborhood in Baton Rouge’s Midtown District

I choose a tighter review area for Capital Heights between just Government St to the north and Claycut Road to the south. Development started in Capital Heights in 1918 and filled in by the 1950s. The district experienced some deterioration in the 60s-80s but stabilized in the 1990s thanks to a strong civic organization and sense of pride in the neighborhood.

Capital Heights excels with attractive 1920s-1930s homes, convenient access to Dwtn, and typical suburban amenities like good schools, low crime, decent retail amenities and a pretty thick tree canopy. Unfortunately walkability isn’t great here due to a lack of sidewalks along residential streets, low density, mediocre public transit service, a quasi- autocentric commercial district along Government St. I’d obviously like to see a lot more density in the neighborhood. The logical place to start is to building mixed-use apartment buildings along Government St. It would take a drastic redesign of the community for it to become a quality urban area.

Click here to view my Capital Heights Album on Flickr


* Solid access to Dwtn being only a 10 minute drive to Dwtn.
* Great street connectivity.
* Nice pair of dedicate bike lanes going west to east but not bike stations in Capital Heights.
* Great economic and generational diversity. Rather poor racial diversity as 90% of the neighborhood is White.
* No schools within Capital Heights but several quality schools in nearby Garden District and a couple to the north.
* Pretty good mix of moderate and more expensive for sale housing. Really only a few 1-beds but good # of 2-beds that sell anywhere btwn 135K-335K, 3 & 4 beds sell between 250K-700K
* Solid tree cover.
 * Attractive 1930s & 1940 architecture.
* Decent cultural amenities including good # of restaurants, bars, and cafes along Government St. A couple art galleries, a couple live music venue.
* Decent retail amenities include a supermarket & a couple specialty grocers, a drug store, A YMCA, a couple gift shops and creative stores, a couple bakeries, a bike shop, a furniture store, a post office, and a couple churches.


* Pretty low density of an urban district.
* Sidewalks and ADA curbs only exist along Government St. No sidewalks in the residential streets.
* Government St has few urban spots in Capital Heights but generally is pretty auto centric.
* So so public transit access.
* Rentals a bit limited but generally moderately priced. 1-beds lease 1K, 2-beds btwn 1K-1.5K, 3-beds btwn 1.5-2.5.
* Only a couple pockets parks within Capital Heights itself. Playground and golf course a block to the south.
* Other than some attractive mid-century architecture modern in-fill is modestly crummy auto centric infill.
* A couple decent stretches of urban form along Government St but generally is very autocentric. Streetscaping is decent however.
* Missing retail including a public library, hospital, medical offices, banks