What is a neighborhood? Is it a tract of homes built after World War II with same-sized lots and similarly sloped roofs? Or a cluster of houses arranged around an elementary school? Or, perhaps a group of people who decided it was easier to fight City Hall as an organized mass than as disparate individuals?
Since 2001, Embarcadero Publishing has been offering profiles of neighborhoods in Palo Alto, Atherton, Menlo Park, Portola Valley and Woodside, as well as Mountain View and Los Altos.
Every neighborhood has a distinct character, driven by its location, home styles and sizes, proximity to schools and shopping or its history -- and of course, the people who live there. Each year we update the information, especially the median home prices and number of home sales.
Neighborhoods are not static; they evolve over time. Some even merge, when common issues, such as response to the 1998 flooding in Palo Alto, give them common goals. Once merged, neighbors may find more to keep them together, whether it's an annual street closure with a barbecue or a parade that includes local fire trucks or donkeys.
Meeting neighbors -- by working together on emergency preparedness or e-newsletters --helps shape community, making people feel more deeply connected to their hometowns. Sometimes it even creates a new "neighborhood."
If you live in an "emerging" neighborhood -- or don't know quite where your house fits -- contact firstname.lastname@example.org.