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Neighborhood names evoke a specific sense of place.
The best names connect places to their geography and history, and emphasize the qualities that make a place unique. This is especially important now, when bland, placeless design is making many cities feel homogenous.
In most cities, neighborhood boundaries are generally not well-defined, and neighborhood names change over the years as people try to change the associations around places. Just looking at New York City: native place names gave way to Dutch names, which in turn became English names. And historic names gave way to names created and promoted by real estate developers and urban planners.
There are three reasons why neighborhood names change. To distance themselves from a troubled past, to be associated with a more desirable area, or to establish a grandiose vision for an area.