Massachusetts not so great this year, say public planners

Massachusetts was shut out of the American Planning Association's annual "Great Places" list, released earlier this month. But city and town planners don't have to go far to find inspiration, as three New England spots were honored: Front Street, in Bath, Maine; New Haven Green; and Central Square in Keene, New Hampshire. 

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Lest the above examples suggest that the APA has quaint, small-town taste, I should point out that other winners this year include Chicago's Lincoln Park and New Orleans's Faubourg Marigny neighborhood.

Last year, two Massachusetts sites were on the list. Downtown Salem was named a Great Neighborhood (its "eccentric street grid, and profusion of archetypal old houses belie a humming, mixed-use district"), and Boston's Washington Street grabbed a Great Street designation (for its South End section, not for embarrassingly empty Downtown Crossing).

In 2007, the first year of the awards, Northampton's Main Street was the only Bay State recipient.