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cachet \ka-ˈshā\noun

a characteristic feature or quality conferring prestige

As summer comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the quaint shops, intimate streetscapes, and the lazy days of summer that are what many people think of when they envision the shore towns in southern New Jersey. Not unlike many of Pennsylvania’s boroughs, this type of downtown development has been quite successful. These are places many of us return to time and again, year after year.

But what do you do when you don’t quite fit the mold? Avalon, NJ faced this problem. As a shore town, the scale of Avalon’s streetscape and architecture is decidedly not intimate. The sea breezes have ample room to blow along the boulevard and swirl within the wide set-backs.

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So the community embraced their differences. Bicyclists and joggers share the road with cars (and the occasional golf cart) with room to spare. Wide sidewalks allow for gathering spaces at almost every corner, with a full complement of site furnishings and plantings. The vibrant blue that adorns the site elements creates cachet and makes a bold statement.

How can you maximize your community’s differences and accentuate them with scale and color? What’s your community cachet?