Rather than go into the re-branding (new urbanism, neotraditional …) of a phenomenon centuries old, I’ll leave it at urban life – urbanism. While not for everyone, it plays a prominent role in planning, briefly neglected during the decades following WW II. True, the automobile facilitated the trend toward suburban life; however, the appeal remains for many, and should.

Downtown Walking Distances
Downtown Walking Distances

Barber Yard, by virtue of its proximity to the urban core of Chico, clearly falls within the traditional urban profile. With the university and downtown within walking distance, clearly “walkable”, Barber Yard provides that crucial element – “Quality of Place”. The deep history of The Diamond Match Company and The Yard contributes to that sense place.

Volumes have been written on the subject, with some quite exceptional. One such piece, “What Draws Creative People? Quality of Place” by Richard Florida (URBANLAND), strikes at the heart of why we choose, when possible, where to live.

Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.”

~ Aristotle