Comprehensive Planning, Housing, and Environment

Library of Traditional Neighborhoods

Library of Traditional Neighborhoods

In recent years, many communities have updated their zoning bylaws in order to enable compact development, to maintain their rural character, and to create a greater variety of well-designed housing types. During these efforts, people often describe places that they have visited - places that they think are good examples of what they want in their community. We often hear “I wish we could build what they did in their town!” or “Wouldn’t it be great to have that type of traditional development here?”

To facilitate these conversations and to provide educational materials that support the approval of bylaws at local Town Meetings, SRPEDD worked with communities to create a Library of Traditional Neighborhoods that explores a wide variety of these places. Each neighborhood is a real-world example from Southeastern MA and RI. They are illustrated by photos, diagrams, simple sketches, site plans, and maps. Each neighborhood is also “measured” for key zoning and development characteristics including building height, setbacks, lot size, lot coverage, dwelling units per acre (UPA), and floor area ratios (FAR). Finally, the library provides a “zoning worksheet” that enables communities to understand how their existing zoning relates to measurements taken from desired places. This "compare and contrast" exercise allows people to easily see what zoning changes might be necessary for their community.

Zoning Worksheet

This library also includes a zoning worksheet that allows you to compare all the Traditional Neighborhoods to your own zoning requirements. Just follow the directions in the worksheet: (1) use the drop-down list to select a Traditional Neighborhood, (2) enter your corresponding zoning information, and (3) check out the automatic calculations.

The Traditional Neighborhoods

Working with planners from the region, SRPEDD explored the traditional neighborhoods listed here. Please note that we plan to expand this list in the near future.

Click each photo to download a booklet that presents each neighborhood's (1) Introduction, (2) Street Design, (3) Development Pattern, (4) Building Characteristics, and (5) Example Lot. Please allow enough time for these PDF files to open/download.

Drone photo of Downtown Mansfield, MA.

Fairhaven Center, Fairhaven, MA

A medium-density mixed-use neighborhood.

Drone photo of Downtown Mansfield, MA.

Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford, MA

A high-density mixed-use neighborhood.

Drone photo of Downtown Mansfield, MA.

Westport, MA

Scenic rural roads.

Drone photo of Downtown Mansfield, MA.

Little Compton, RI

A rural common.

Drone photo of Downtown Mansfield, MA.

Everett Street, Middleborough, MA

A medium-density residential neighborhood.

Drone photo of Downtown Mansfield, MA.

Onset Village, Wareham, MA

A high-density residential neighborhood.

Drone photo of Downtown Mansfield, MA.

Lauriston Street, Providence, RI

An in-town neighborhood.

Drone photo of Downtown Mansfield, MA.

Downtown Mansfield, MA

A commercial street.