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Adam Ruins the Suburbs... Ugh!
Old 10-03-2017, 05:57 PM   #1
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Adam Ruins the Suburbs... Ugh!

I have read people discussing this show in the forums in the past and I have enjoyed the show myself. This episode, which started airing 9/27 on TruTV or youtube, struck a chord with me, as we live in a cul-de-sac with no means of getting around without a car. The kids are already college-age, but I do wish we could walk to do stuff rather than having to drive everywhere. A lot of the issues in the episode resonate with our experiences over the years. DW has no interest in city life and I think there must be a middle ground between inclusive retirement communities and the suburbs. Maybe a college town or something? We recently visited Savannah, GA and that city seemed pretty close to ideal, although probably too big. For those living in the 'burbs, what's your escape plan? Or is semi-isolation underrated?
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:31 PM   #2
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Suburbanite here. Haven't seen the episode yet. We have a lot of convenient shopping and services nearby, if not right next door. Some walkable in 15-20 min in good weather. We were considering a rural location for a new build, but finally decided it was not for us. Downtown isn't for us either with the traffic, noise, etc. This seems to be the balance point for us at this point.
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:35 PM   #3
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We moved into town 5 years ago. Downtown is only a mile walk. We love it.
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:42 PM   #4
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I am not a regular watcher of his series, but I've seen quite a few of them. I haven't yet seen this one. Not knowing the substance of the show, I will say that I love living in the suburbs.
Edit to add: therefore, I don't have any escape plan.
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:46 PM   #5
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I live even further out than suburbs. I am in the county and have 2.5 acres in a neighborhood of similar size lots. I don't mind driving to get anywhere, I am about 6-10 miles to middle of the suburbia for shopping and restaurants. I can get all the walking I want or need in my neighborhood, doing yardwork or whatever else.

If you put me in dense urban environment I would go crazy after a short period of time. Worse, stick me in an apartment with no yard or outside personal space.

I have no plans to move, in fact I moved to current location to be near family, but have the same general large lot and type of location as previous. I think it just comes down to what you like, for OP his wife likes it outside the city. My best suggestion is happy wife happy life, so just accept where you are at.
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Old 10-03-2017, 07:53 PM   #6
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We moved into town 5 years ago. Downtown is only a mile walk. We love it.


This is my situation too. Big city, pleasant leafy street, and exactly one mile to the Pike Place market. I have not driven a car, except on vacation, in 6 years. And if I walk 2 1/2 miles east instead of west, I'm at a Lake Washington beach.

I enjoyed living away when my kids were home. But needs change.

Ha
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:14 PM   #7
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I live on a cul-de-sac in a suburb. I can walk or ride a bike to groceries, restaurants, banks, doctors, vets, dentists, gas stations, schools, churches, parks, playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields, and many other things.

And there is a path out the end of the our cul-de-sac for walkers and bikes, but not cars.

I can ride my bike to work, too. I made my kids walk to school.

I like that when I go for a walk in the morning that I see many people also walking that I know.

What's wrong with your suburb?
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:09 PM   #8
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We have lived right in the center of our city (pop. ~52K) for the past 25 years. In a 4-5 block radius around our house are the harbor, 10 restaurants, the playhouse, the train to NYC, our bank, the hospital, the library, the fire house, city hall and our church. And yet we have a 1/3 acre lot and a 2500 sqft house. I highly recommend small city living.
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:49 PM   #9
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Some of the substance of the show was that suburbs were white and perhaps racist.
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Old 10-04-2017, 06:47 AM   #10
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DW has no interest in city life and I think there must be a middle ground between inclusive retirement communities and the suburbs. Maybe a college town or something?
Many college towns are great choices for retirement living. Just visit and spend a week or two in those that interest you -- preferably both winter and summer.

You might also look at https://www.redfin.com/how-walk-score-works for some more detailed info on neighborhoods.
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Old 10-04-2017, 07:32 AM   #11
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I wasn't addressing the socio-economic analysis of the show, just the 'aging in place' aspects.
Great comments. FYI, our Redfin score is "0"... But that's a cool tool to use as we scout for our "downsizing" house in the next few years.
The show makes the point that as we age, many will reach a point where they can no longer drive and become dependent on others to bring them stuff, increasing their isolation if they live in communities that require a car to run daily errands.
Our ~100 house community of acre-sized lots is built along a hilly country road that's just 10-15 minutes by car to any convenience one would want, but no errands are walkable. We've been here since the 'turn of the century' , and recently have seen an uptick in neighbors downsizing as well.
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Old 10-04-2017, 07:36 AM   #12
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My wife and I are in a similar situation. We live on a cul-de-sac with two children in college. It is a suburban community, a very diverse one, but it is a community that has no amenities whatsoever. No playgrounds, no pool, no bike paths, no gym, etc. But it was fine when we were raising our children because we provided the amenities for them. Baby pools, swing sets, tree fort, portable basketball hoop, etc. Now we are considering moving to another suburb, but one that has adult amenities that we can enjoy without having to drive much. But it also comes with higher taxes, and we are willing to now pay for that.
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Old 10-04-2017, 08:01 AM   #13
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Great comments. FYI, our Redfin score is "0"
It's a handy tool, but take the score with a grain of salt.

My walk score is 40, so "most errands require a car."

But in fact there is good sidewalk to almost everything. OK, it's nearly two miles to the supermarket and most people are not willing to walk that far, but I'm happy enough with our location.
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:04 AM   #14
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We are solidly in the suburbs of Atlanta. Our neighborhood is older, so the lots are quite a bit bigger than the newer ones and it's densely wooded, which I love. Some of the neighborhoods that were built in the 50's are being replaced w/ McMansions which means two houses on the formerly single lots. Most of our area is zoned for low to medium density housing, but the county commission has been very nice to the developers when they apply for variances to reduce the lot sizes, and this is disconcerting to me. I am originally from this area and have watched it grown exponentially over the last 30 years and it's somewhat depressing. Yes, there are more choices for shopping and eating, but it comes with a great price...too many people and too much traffic.

Our escape plan? That's TBD. I really like the amenities that are around us (and yes, you have to drive to them, but it rarely requires a drive of more than 10 minutes) but I dislike the increasing density. I like that medical care is close, and that there are world renowned medical specialists within 30 minutes of us. Ideally, I would like to live on a lot of about 5 acres that is "away" from the hustle and bustle, but is fairly close to good amenities. I would love to live in the N. Georgia mountains, but the DW would like to go back where her family lives when my Dad passes on...and I can't disagree with her...she's been "following" me around for years.

OK...I know I am rambling, so in summary...I just don't know.
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Old 10-04-2017, 09:43 AM   #15
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I would love to live in the N. Georgia mountains,
A bother lives up there, and he and his wife love it. There seems to be quite a lot of community too.

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Old 10-04-2017, 09:50 AM   #16
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A bother lives up there, and he and his wife love it. There seems to be quite a lot of community too.

Ha
Yep. I have a few friends that live up there...some native to the area, and a couple of transplants. It is one of my favorite places to go for a day trip, or a week or more. It really fits all my requirements...lots of space, low density population, good amenities close by and a downtown that is fairly vibrant for the low density. BUT...it's 900 miles to the DW's family, so it's most likely a no-go.
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Old 10-04-2017, 10:11 AM   #17
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When we bought our current house in the suburbs, there were only few amenities nearby. But this part of town has expanded quite a bit over the last 12 years and we now have several grocery stores, pharmacies, two dozen restaurants, banks, movie theaters, retail stores, gyms, health clinics, dentists, etc... all within 2 miles from the house. At my age, it is an easy walk.

That being said, we still need an escape plan for our old age as the house is full of stairs and the driveway is pretty "scary", so it is unlikely that we will age in place. When the time comes, we will definitely look for a condo in a walkable city - unless driverless cars become ubiquitous!
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Old 10-04-2017, 12:14 PM   #18
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I watched the entire 25 minute episode. it is an indictment of older style suburbs, but not the suburb (aka Master Planned Community) that I live in. So I think suburbs can be great communities.

As for retirement / aging in place, I was out walking the dog this morning and ended up talking to almost a dozen people who were out running, walking, or working in their yards. That included young and old (aka retirees). Retirees like this place because
a) close to grandchildren since schools are great here

b) close to health care and hospitals since schools are great here, many physicians live here, too

c) many Continuing Care Retirement Communities since non-retired folks want their parents nearby as they age

d) saturated with Uber drivers, so one can get around even if one cannot walk

e) many delivery services (groceries can be delivered as well as Amazon and take-out meals)

f) lots of recreational and cultural activities since the metropolitan area is huge.

What is missing though is San Diego weather.
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Old 10-04-2017, 12:54 PM   #19
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I live on a cul-de-sac in a suburb. I can walk or ride a bike to groceries, restaurants, banks, doctors, vets, dentists, gas stations, schools, churches, parks, playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields, and many other things.

And there is a path out the end of the our cul-de-sac for walkers and bikes, but not cars.

I can ride my bike to work, too. I made my kids walk to school.

I like that when I go for a walk in the morning that I see many people also walking that I know.

What's wrong with your suburb?
Ride your bike to work? I thought this forum is for retirees.

We're on cds end of 1/3 mile long cds street. Sidewalks everywhere for biking/running/walking (The last for is me - a lot.). Park/playground right at open/highway end of street. From there, another 1/4 mile to produce/meat market. Local grocery another 1/2 mile. Several restaurants around grocery store.
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Old 10-07-2017, 12:41 PM   #20
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d) saturated with Uber drivers, so one can get around even if one cannot walk
Yeah, maybe Uber and/or self-driving cars could solve the driving isolation issue, as they get cheap enough and more widely available.
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