On this street in Washington, D.C., old and new stand harmoniously side by side.Photo: Dave ReidA great neighborhood improves over time, like a stew simmering in its spices. New homes or businesses fill in the odd left-over spaces or selectively replace those that have reached the end of their lifespan. The existing homes are added to, tweaked, redesigned, taken away from, and variously molded by the individual personalities of the people living in them. Trees mature, shrubs fill out. The neighborhood achieves a quality we can't quite put our finger on. So we call it character, almost as if it …
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Daniel Nairn works as a planner. In his free time he plays with ideas, mainly about cities of all sizes and how they are used by people, on his blog Discovering Urbanism.