Occasionally, I use terms on this blog some of my readers may not understand. I recently mentioned “first-rung” neighborhoods in a post and got some comments about what on earth they were. So, for everyone else who didn’t know but didn’t ask, here is your answer.
How Cities Grow
When areas are first settled, there’s no rhyme or reason as to where houses are placed. The city grows organically, and back in the day, zoning was virtually non-existent. But as the small town begins to grow a bit, eventually the scattered farms and houses begin to focus on a central point. The downtown or city center becomes the center of commerce and soon, the folks who conduct business in that area begin to build homes nearby.
When residential homes near the city center are in demand enough, the city or town will usually organize a section of land and platt it for residential construction only. Platting breaks the land into similar sized lots and these first neighborhoods organized right by the city center are called “first rung” neighborhoods.
First rung neighborhoods in any city are usually the oldest in town and closest to the center. As you drive out from the downtown, you can literally see how the city grew over decades of time in just a few miles. Beyond these first rung neighborhoods are second rung neighborhoods and then usually the suburbs.
Second rung neighborhoods are much the same layout and feel of the first rung, though they are from newer housing stock. But once you reach the suburbs the layout usually changes from a local and very walkable neighborhood, to one that is built for the automobile.
In Orlando, the historic downtown leads out to the first rung historic neighborhoods of Lake Eola Heights, Thornton Park/Lake Lawsona, Colonialtown South & North, Lake Cherokee/Delaney Park, and Lake Copeland.