Best Residential Neighborhood (2009)

Talega, San Clemente

If we must wreck the world with McMansions, let us at least wreck it to look like Talega. Located in the hills by a decommissioned aerospace test site, the development—which first broke ground 10 years ago—was master planned with an eye toward open space and mixed income levels (but no one in the lower bracket, of course). The economy has kept a good portion of the planned homes unbuilt and a good portion of the built homes vacant, which is nice. Visit on a sunny day after rainfall: The roads are open, the slopes glow emerald, and the ocean twinkles a few miles away. It's enough to almost make you understand why suburban pioneers once thought they could escape stress by moving to Orange County.

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