When looking at the built design of an area I look at the buildings, streets, and public spaces. Each town usually varies in its built environment, they all have their own look. When someone looks at a town the first thing they see tends to be the aesthetic look of the area. I know for me that is the first thing which forms my opinion of a town immediately.
Two towns which I am very familiar with are the towns of Princeton and Somerville both in New Jersey. I have frequently gone to both of these towns since I was younger. These towns are only about half an hour apart. Both towns have been around a long time but still are very different. I personally favor the town of Princeton over Somerville. Whenever I go to Princeton I feel more comfortable and welcome.
When you are on Nassua Street which I think is more of the main street of Princeton you see more appealing buildings that are more upscale and well taken care of. (Photos below) The town also offers various different public spaces where people sit around socialize and just relax. Nassua Street and the streets around it have many intriguing boutiques and eatery’s. The looks of the buildings is consist throughout and flows together. There are many benches where people can just sit and people watch. Also many public spaces where people can go to relax and interact with others. The sidewalks are very wide which is also a positive, the town tends to become very busy on the weekends and the sidewalks are wide enough to accommodate all the people.
While looking at the Main Street of Somerville, buildings are less upscale and not taken care of as well. (Photos below) Many buildings need to be renovated because they look like they are falling apart. Also, the look throughout the town isn’t constant and there really isn’t a flow. There is barely any benches available to sit and people watch. Also, there isn’t many public spaces for people to go to. The sidewalks are also smaller. I always tend to bump into people because of the narrowness of the sidewalks.
Even though both of these towns are very pedestrian friendly, I would want to walk around Princeton more then I would around Somerville. Princeton has a lot more interesting places to shop, eat and relax then Somerville does. Princeton also has more public spaces for people. When walking through Princeton on any given day you will see way more people walking around then in Somerville. In the past few years Somerville has been trying to renovate and build and rebuild some buildings but it still has a while to go before it is on the same level as Princeton.