What Makes a Town #1

Who doesn’t like being Number One? Best in show, MVP, grade A—these all reflect the top spot that everything from sports to businesses to places to do just about anything aspire to be awarded. Maplewood, New Jersey has landed accolades for various elements of the community, including Number One Downtown and Best Destination Towns for Dining, according to Village Green New Jersey. Looking at what makes a town great is more than a measure of good schools and crime rates, although these considerations are certainly worth investigating. Here’s how Maplewood makes the list.


Community is where people from various walks of life come together based on their commonalities and despite their differences. A great town will foster a sense of community by providing opportunities for community to happen organically. For example, Maplewood offers arts and cultural experiences for people of various ages, interests, and socioeconomic circumstances at renowned venues like 1978 Maplewood Arts.  In addition, the Maplewood Arts and Culture website attests to how committed the town is to “creating community in a creative community.”


Another characteristic of great towns is the pride of ownership reflected among residents, businesses, and other organizations with vested interest in community. Homes are well maintained, well-lit sidewalks are often lined with mature trees, and storefronts are intriguing, clean, and welcoming.


While a sense of community and pride of ownership represent integral elements of a #1 town, lifestyle compatibility can also be a distinguishing characteristic. For example, Clarus Maplewood, a landmark WELL® certified building, featuring built-in high quality air and lighting systems, brings luxury apartment living to the heart of Maplewood’s active community. With public transportation, shops, and restaurants only steps from Clarus’s main entrance, residents can within minutes connect to their lifestyles outside their homes. As Forbes reports, “A truly great neighborhood is one in sync with your current lifestyle.”


Proximity to conveniences, such as transit, groceries, lifestyle centers, and medical care can elevate a town’s desirability as well. Maplewood’s dozens of restaurants have been celebrated to “feature clean, fresh, bright fare,” highlighting dining destinations like top restaurant in the state, Lorena’s, and the new Cassidy as prime examples. Starbucks, considered a staple for many active lifestyles, and BCB Community Bank are now also conveniently located at the lobby level of Clarus Maplewood.


Finally, and becoming increasingly important as Millennials and Boomers alike continue to head outdoors for health and recreation purposes, walkability is a modern-day must-have to be rated as a top town. Walk Score identifies the following characteristics of a walkable neighborhood: a center, a population, mixed income/mixed use, parks and public space, pedestrian design, schools and workplaces, and complete streets. Maplewood, NJ along with the infusion of Clarus Maplewood into its thriving downtown makes for a high walkability score of 86.


Indeed, when one wants to discover what makes a town #1, checking out Maplewood, NJ presents plenty of evidence to its repeated designation as one of the best.