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Old 11-05-2013, 09:14 AM   #21
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I don't like shared walls/ceilings/floors/street noise. If it were solely up to me, I'd be off in a remote mountainous cabin, but that won't fly with DW.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:35 AM   #22
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Luckily this country is big enough and has enough variety that there will be choices. I personally prefer a small town that is commuting distance to a large city and is a "bedroom community" to the larger metropolitan area. I've got easy access to the excellent Chicago theatres, restaurants, and other activities but don't have to deal with the crime, congestion, and high costs of living close in. For my daily activities, everything I want is a 10 minute drive away. Much of what I want is a 20 minute walk at the town center (train station, coffee shops, good restaurants & bars, & library). I am not stuck in a large group of houses with nothing else close by.

I've lived in suburbs and also in a city (in Japan). I still prefer the suburbs. I don't see the suburbs going away due to transportation costs alone. Even at European auto costs (2-3X fuel cost to U.S.) people generally prefer to move out of the city when they can. I'm not sure about the continent, but the British planning system (their equivalent to zoning) almost prohibited building of any new suburbs and strongly encouraged redevelopment of housing in towns and cities. As a result, people were forced to live in cities even if they didn't want to. Any housing that became available out of the city was snapped up.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:35 AM   #23
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I lived in Chicago an loved it and now I live in the burbs in a different state. The burbs are definitely less exciting. But of the few friends I know who constantly find the need to remind everyone that they're "city people" and who subtly diss the burbs at every opportunity, I find them pretty annoying and I try to limit my time with them. I'm not into hanging with folks who have a superiority complex about their lifestyle choices.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:55 AM   #24
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I live in a 'burb, but it's almost a city itself at this point...

Lots of mixed-use developments going in around the area, but they seem pricey to me, and I really don't need to be surrounded by boutiques and fancy restaurants.

I am considering moving to a condo or zero-lot home at some point, because, other than my patio, I rarely venture outdoors or onto any part of my lawn, except to mow, pull weeds, kill fire ants, etc. Seems a shame to maintain all that, given its only use is as a buffer from my neighbors.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:05 AM   #25
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I live in a 'burb, but it's almost a city itself at this point...

Lots of mixed-use developments going in around the area, but they seem pricey to me, and I really don't need to be surrounded by boutiques and fancy restaurants.

I am considering moving to a condo or zero-lot home at some point, because, other than my patio, I rarely venture outdoors or onto any part of my lawn, except to mow, pull weeds, kill fire ants, etc. Seems a shame to maintain all that, given its only use is as a buffer from my neighbors.
That is what I am seeing near the biggest metro area I live by. Denser populations returning to the city core will not occur until the blighted areas are all razed in mass and rebuilt on. By then though the burbs would be the slums and the process will have reversed itself. Though that probably is generations away. Myself, I prefer the small town away from the hustle and traffic. I don't need sidewalks I can just walk in the streets with no concern of traffic. Most old people do real well in small towns. Though they couldn't drive in the city or metro area, they putt along just fine in a small town that has the basic conveniences you need. Unhealthier ones who frequent doctors often would have to rely on friends/family to drive for specialist appointments if needed though.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:38 AM   #26
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If you are thinking about urban lifestyle and trying to predict the future, think about driverless cars and how they will affect developments and lifestyle 20 years from now. If I moved back to the USA now, I would probably have to buy a car but I would consider it my last one ever thanks largely to this emerging technology.

There will be no need for a future residence to have a parking spot, etc. No finding a parking space at the mall as you will be dropped off and picked up (by different cars, not the same vehicle). You can walk to the store but ride back home with all the stuff u bought. Or what you just ordered on the web will be delivered to your address by a driverless car at a lower cost than from stores with a physical location, etc. Commuting time might actually be semi-productive instead of a drag.

Driverless vehicles are a technology and business idea that fundamentally could change a lot of assumptions about how we live now.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:43 AM   #27
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I believe the trend towards more people living in cities will continue. People go where there are jobs. Yes, telecommuting will ameliorate this somewhat. But, I don't foresee entire communities of telecommuters. Most people like to have basic amenities close to home.

I live in a rural section of northern Idaho/Easten WA. The population here peaked in about 1970, and has steadily declined since. Abandoned homes are common in the small (under 1000 pop) towns around here. Schools regularly need to combine grades to reach critical mass. This is due to the loss of the domestic timber industry, and the industrialization of agriculture. Fewer jobs=fewer people.

With all that said, I would detest living in a city. I have a rule of 5 that tells me if the city is too large for me. I should be able to drive from downtown 5 minutes in any direction and be at the edge of town. An additional 5 minutes should put me in the country. That is where I am happiest.
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:01 PM   #28
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Drove across the country this last spring and apart from the cities this country is empty. We have so much land and no people.
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:19 PM   #29
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Drove across the country this last spring and apart from the cities this country is empty. We have so much land and no people.
Kind of depends on the part of the country you were driving through.

In the middle section of the country there are huge areas of almost no people.

If you visit TX and drive north to south on I-35 you're hard pressed to go a mile or two without seeing development. Much of the east and west coasts are the same way.
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:28 PM   #30
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My RV treks have taken me to areas of states such as Nevada, Wyoming, and Montana, where the only evidence of mankind is the black asphalt in front of me, and nothing else to the horizon. It's awesome.
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:40 PM   #31
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Kind of depends on the part of the country you were driving through.

In the middle section of the country there are huge areas of almost no people.

If you visit TX and drive north to south on I-35 you're hard pressed to go a mile or two without seeing development. Much of the east and west coasts are the same way.
However if you go away from that corridor you find a good bit of empty land even on 1-10 east of San Antonio, for about 100 miles until you get near Houston. (One metric for this is where the freeway goes from 2 to 3 lanes). Going west on i -10, you have about 30 miles and then in the country basically for 500 miles. On I-20 if you get east of DFW about 50 miles there are towns but empty space between, west of course is even emptier all be it not as empty as I-10. If you take US83 up from the Valley its pretty much empty except for Abliene all the way to Bismark ND.
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:45 PM   #32
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It is easy to use google maps satellite view or google earth to see how open the countryside is, whether forest, prairie, farmland, deserts. Of course when you hit every red light during rush hour in any major metropolitan area, or there seem to be twice as many cars as roadway, or a glut of pedestrians spilling off the sidewalks, etc., it is not too obvious, but if we pull back it really is amazing how we settled our countries right on top of our neighbors for the most part.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:40 PM   #33
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in my travels - mostly Illinois and Arizona, it seems like the suburbs are doing fine, the big cities and small towns are suffering
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:32 PM   #34
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I live and work in a suburb. The place is ideal for growing families with school-age children. The public schools are fantastic. The availability of sports, music, art, movies, concerts, hospitals in this bubble is outstanding. Lots of orthodontists, plastic surgeons, cardiologists, and other doctors live and practice here. There are plenty of restaurants, Starbucks, and shopping malls.

If I need major league sports and museums, they are about a 45 minute drive away.

One see lots of bike riders, triathlon types and even entire school cross-country teams doing training runs.

And it is cheap and quiet. I walk the dog 4 miles every morning and chat with the "regulars" that I meet. These include the dog walkers, the school crosswalk guards, my neighbors, and kids I don't even know. I then commute to work about 3 miles.

And I like my neighbors who come in all ages from 1 year to 80+ years. They all know me and will stop to chat whenever I am outside. It's fun having friends.

This suburb is doing just fine. It is doing so well that many companies are relocating here and building "campuses" nearby.

However, this place is not ideal for young single people because they will only meet married folks with 2 kids or older empty nesters.
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:51 PM   #35
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I don't know if the 'burbs will lose popularity and people will migrate to the cities. I never would make that choice. As soon as it became practical for people to leave the cities, to buy a home that was not cheek-by-jowl to their neighbors, they took that opportunity, and I think most will continue to do so.

I like my little, old (1959) ranch house in the suburbs. DW enjoys gardening on our 0.3 acres, we enjoy the quiet, we can hop on the bike path at the end or our street and ride a few miles into the "big city", or take it the other way and see other nearby hamlets. It's 60 minutes by car (seldom any traffic) to two other big towns with museums, culture, etc. If I lived in a city and had no car, I'd just have easy access to the offerings of that single city.

Economically, our nearby city (Dayton, OH) is largely dependent on nearby suburbs, that's where the economic vitality is. Lots of attention to the small parts of the city that are becoming revitalized, but it's mainly news because it is so unusual. I wish the city luck--it's got a lot of history and some beautiful architecture. If it re-blooms it would be good for the 'burbs, too.
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:34 PM   #36
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I saw the video, and they are talking about suburbs elsewhere, but certainly not where I live.

Though I consider myself living in a suburb, this is a large metropolitan area, with a small downtown core which most people never frequent, unless they get called to serve jury duty. There are some businesses downtown, but they employ few people compared to the rest of the metro area. Downtown businesses are by definition mostly offices, but more activities here are manufacturing, and we need land and space to spread out.

The title of the article says "Born in the 50s, suburbs ready to retire". Well, most of this area was built long after that. In fact my subdivision was built in 1983. Yet, I am 20 min away from a state university with 76,000 students, and also 20 min from an international airport.

Suburbs mean different things depending on where you live. If your job is not downtown, why do you want to live in downtown?
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:01 PM   #37
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Suburbs mean different things depending on where you live. If your job is not downtown, why do you want to live in downtown?
I go to meetup group that meets in Belltown (north end of downtown). Most of the people are from all over, or originally from Seattle then went away for career or marriage and have recently returned in retirement or semiretirement. Almost all of them live a few blocks away from the coffee house where they meet. I think it is a matter of taste. They have 5 or 6 activities each week, all right downtown, mostly free or inexpensive and very well attended.

I think from this thread that the suburbs will continue to satisfy very many people, certainly most people here seem to be fans of the suburbs. But there are clear urbanizing trends in SOME cities, not all cities. Certainly not cities like Phoenix. Lots of great reason to go to Phoenix, but urban lifestyle is likely not one of them. Some cities are very popular now. These are mostly Northeastern or truly coastal Western cities- not Sacramento or Fresno or something-San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Portland Seattle-and in the East DC,Philly and NYC and up the coast to Boston. All these places were settled before automobiles, and hence they are built for people on foot, not in cars. Certainly cars and Freeways have made big incursions, but I can live many months without ever going near a freeway. I can even walk downtown without seeing the Freeway that forms the eastern border of downtown proper- by crossing where the Freeway has gone underground.

There is some evidence, that in these attractive cities, it is not just young single people moving in to urban areas. All during the recent RE estate crash, Capitol Hill, Queen Ann Hill, First Hill and Downtown held value much better than places farther out, except Downtown Bellevue, and very posh eastside enclaves like Hunts Point, Yarrow Point and Medina. Downtown Kirkland is booming because it and Downtown Bellevue are the most "urban" environments on the East side of Lake Washington. And coming out of the crash, these places and similar have gained value considerably faster than more truly suburban areas like Edmonds, Lynnwood and Redmond. Young new Seattleites rent apartments, not buy expensive homes and condos.

It is true that the building boom presently going on in downtown and close is mainly apartments- nice, to luxury high rises. Condo developers got burned pretty badly in the crash, some of these buildings are still mostly in use as rentals so that remains to be seen.

But except for schools, "need more room for kids" is mostly a red herring. Look how many board members who are moving out or are already out of childbearing potential have 1 or 0 children. Not hard to raise even two or more kids in the typical small footprint townhome. After all, there are only 2 sexes. In the townhome just across from me I have old country neighbors who have Mom, Dad, 2 kids and Grandma. It's taste, and people who feel that perhaps lots of room for kids isn't more important than Mom and Dad getting home quickly after work.

Some one mentioned Dayton. Agree, beautiful city on a river. But demographic problems? It will take a generation of intrepid gentrifiers to soften that place for Mr. and Mrs. Yuppie. Yet it is happening in Cincinnati, another pre-car city. Ohio cities invest big in river plans | www.daytondailynews.com

I have a cousin almost 60 who has never lived anywhere but downtown- either in Chicago or in Cincinnati. Her only problem is her very active lifestyle didn't leave much financial surplus and she is looking at some tough choices now-like moving to the suburbs! (Rents in a nice older but crime free suburb across the river are 1/3 those in downtown Cincy) And good bus service to downtown too which she needs s she never learned to drive.

Ha
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:34 PM   #38
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... there are clear urbanizing trends in SOME cities, not all cities. Certainly not cities like Phoenix. But people who like urban living don't move to Phoenix, do they?...
My nephew who is a pharmacist got a job in Manhattan to experience city life. He left his Audi behind, but has not wanted to sell it. I guess he was thinking he might want it back.

When I talked to him last, he was thinking SF might be a place he would want to hang out next. His sister wanted to experience city life the same way, but her job did not offer the same mobility.

As for myself, I am happy where I am, and even bought a 2nd home in a high-country rural setting to get away when I feel like it.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:57 PM   #39
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My nephew who is a pharmacist got a job in Manhattan to experience city life. He left his Audi behind, but has not wanted to sell it. I guess he was thinking he might want it back.

When I talked to him last, he was thinking SF might be a place he would want to hang out next. His sister wanted to experience city life the same way, but her job did not offer the same mobility.

As for myself, I am happy where I am, and even bought a 2nd home in a high-country rural setting to get away when I feel like it.
When I retired I had inherited my parents home which is in a town of 20k, and a county of 40k, instead of staying in Houston. In addition where I live now is on the edge of a big area that has populations not much greater than that which was called frontier 140 years ago. (Sort of the edge of civilization in west Texas). Actually I have not had to go to buy anything in the big city in several years since UPS/FedEx do such a good job and shopping on the computer is so easy.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:03 PM   #40
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My last RV trip took me west on I-10, and I passed by what I guess is called the hill country of Texas. It was nice green rolling hill terrain, and I thought I liked it. Do not know what the climate is like though.

Anyway, the problem with living in a rural setting is that when you get older and need access to medical care, that could be a problem. For that reason, I do not see myself selling my city home. If anything, it will be the high-country home that I may not be able to enjoy in my old age.
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