While a circular neighborhood is not only unique and uncommon, this particular neighborhood features a community center at the heart-a very rare and special feature. The Circles neighborhood in Santa Cruz, California is most likely the first documented circular neighborhood known to date.
The decision for the church is really what fueled the foundation of the circles neighborhood. With the church came it's followers.
In the summer of 1989, Dr. David Walk (or the "father of Garfield Park") surveyed the site and with the help of Horace Wanzer and Daniel Damkroeger, an architect in high demand at the time, they designed the layout of the circles neighborhood.
One thing working against the site was the network of street grids-in order to understand how to maneuver around this as well as understand the proximity of the soon to be church to the important Santa Cruz attractions. The planners drew concentric circles around the site until they reached the civic center. This was the inspiration for the unique layout of the neighborhood today.
In 1989, the Church was established- the lot they had was small, but the location was ideal. It wasn't difficult to find people to fill the spaces around the church. The set up that the church and newly established neighborhood provided was tightly knit and intimate, but also inviting.
The neighborhood emanated outwards as it expanded- filling in the surrounding circles and streets with cottages and then "tent lots" what which divided the 10-acre tract around the church.
In between these houses they created corridors that which the residents could utilize when they rung the church bells when it was time for mass. These corridors still remain today.