Cottage Living's criteria for judging "cottage communities" included:
Homes (30 percent): vernacular architecture, cottage-y scale (not sprawling, in line with original neighborhood design—no teardown zones), affordability (as related to regional income levels and real estate prices), walkabilityCommunities closest to Nashville making the list were in Asheville, NC and in Indianapolis, IN.
People (30 percent): diverse and caring neighbors, well-organized community network, social events for fun and good causes
Shops and Hangouts (20 percent): colorful, independent retail stores and eateries within walking distance.
Greenspace (10 percent): parks, playgrounds, nature preserves.
Cottage Twist (10 percent): signature characteristic that brings a smile.