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What makes a neighborhood awesome?

I've been thinking a lot about what it is that makes a neighborhood a great place to live. What is it that moves a group of structures from dwellings to community? It helps to have a location that has a sense of "place" a sense that once you arrive you are someplace.

Those of us who live in Reston are fortunate to have many gathering places--public use spaces that were designed into and planned for from the beginning. What a difference it makes to the character of our neighborhoods.

I live in the original village center of Reston on Lake Anne Plaza; a mixed use small scale commercial and residential development with beautiful architecture, built around a lake with open spaces that beckon people to take their time, to stroll the boardwalk, or to sit under the umbrellas overlooking the lake. All of this taken together makes this a wonderful place to live--but still there is something else here. Its community, people from all kinds of backgrounds that choose to live in close proximity to one another. We are bound by our love of this place--it gives a common connection, something we value together; and I wonder if that's it, is that what makes this neighborhood a great place to live?

Waterfront like along a lake