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August 6, 2007

Top Urban Enclaves

Forbes -- August 6th, 2007 (excerpt) | Matt Woolsey

To many who live there, Park Slope, Brooklyn, is an oasis within New York City boasting one-family brownstones and plenty of parks, where the biggest danger is dodging strollers on the sidewalk.

Call it an urban suburb — a big-city next-door neighbor that has rejected high-rise development and highways and maintained a small-town feel without the nightmarish commute of the average bedroom community. Need proof? Park Slope is closer to downtown Manhattan than most parts of Manhattan.

Other calling cards : low population density, high income residents, and high-priced homes.

On the East Coast, these urban suburbs are neighborhoods within larger cities. Chestnut Hill is close to downtown Philadelphia, but has cobblestone streets, stately homes, and upscale shops and galleries. They are also enclaves of wealth.

“Many of the homes in Chestnut Hill are free-standing, often historic, single-family homes,” says Steve DiFrancesco, a broker with Hunter, Reed and Company in Philadelphia. “Because there are relatively few multi-family townhouses or apartments, (Chestnut Hill) has a much sought-after small-town feel.”

— Matt Woolsey