American Planning Association Designates

Beaufort Historic District a Top 10 Great Neighborhood for 2013

Noted for Aesthetics, Sustainability, Preservation, Planning

BEAUFORT, SC – The American Planning Association (APA) today announced the designation of the Beaufort Historic District as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2013 under the organization’s Great Places in America program. Each year during National Community Planning Month, APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary public spaces, streets and neighborhoods to highlight the role planning and planners play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and jobs.
APA singled out the neighborhood for its well-preserved architecture, sustainable design, natural features and focus on planning. The neighborhood’s beauty and history engender a strong sense of place — and even stronger sense of community.

“For more than 300 years, Beaufort has maintained a remarkable and renowned ‘hometown’ feeling and character that have always been anchored in the Historic District,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said. “For a lot of those years I think many who live here have taken it for granted. It wasn’t until the 1970s that a small group of determined people took a stand to protect Beaufort’s history,” he continued.

“Today, their hard work, and the hard work of hundreds of others since then, is paying off. Not only is the Beaufort Historic District a ‘Top 10 Great Neighborhood,’ but it’s also an essential part of what keeps Beaufort living and growing. It’s not a museum, it’s a living neighborhood and functioning community,” Mayor Keyserling added.

“The neighborhood’s design reminds us of nature’s powerful impact on the built environment,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. “Streets were laid out not only to provide scenic views, but to capitalize on their inherent capacity to heat and cool,” he said, adding, “Nature isn’t always kind. Still, neither hurricane nor fire could permanently destroy this neighborhood or residents’ esprit de corps and perseverance to rebuild that continues to this day.”

Defining the neighborhood are not only scenic vistas and outstanding architecture, some of which dates to Colonial times, but also planning principles, precedents that defined the district upon its inception in 1711, and contemporary practices such as form-based zoning. In response to an 1893 hurricane and 1907 fire residents slowly rebuilt in a way that reinforced the neighborhood’s unique sense of place and community. Redevelopment has continued through the years and today is focused on Bladen Street in the Northwest Quadrant, a traditional African-American settlement.
APA’s Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces feature unique and authentic characteristics that have evolved from years of thoughtful and deliberate planning by residents, community leaders and planners. The 2013 Great Places have many things Americans say are important to their “ideal community” including locally owned businesses, transit, neighborhood parks, and sidewalks. They illustrate how the foresight of planning fosters communities of lasting value.

The nine other APA 2013 Great Neighborhoods are: Chinatown, San Francisco, CA; Downtown Norwich, CT; Downtown Decatur, Decatur, GA; Central Street Neighborhood, Evanston, IL; Downtown Mason City, Mason City, IA; Historic Licking Riverside Neighborhood, Covington, KY; Kenwood, Minneapolis, MN; West Freemason, Norfolk, VA; and Williamson-Marquette Neighborhood, Madison, WI.
For more information about these neighborhoods, as well as APA’s top 10 Great Streets and top 10 Great Public Spaces for 2013 and previous years, visit For more about National Community Planning Month taking place throughout October visit