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Old 12-01-2011, 01:13 PM   #61
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Crime may be off-topic a little, but I think it is the limiting factor on urban revitalization in many areas. Until crime in most urban areas is under control, I cannot live there. I hate that, because sometimes the bad neighborhoods are full of small, inexpensive, charming older homes that are most suited to a single person.
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Right now we live in an inner suburb, one of the oldest suburbs of New Orleans, and Frank and I are only about 1 and 2 miles from the city respectively. My neighborhood is probably as low crime as we have in the relatively high crime New Orleans metro area. Still, I do not feel comfortable leaving the house or driving after dark.
In cities where crime is under control, I can certainly see the attraction of living in the city.
I agree that violent crime is something to be avoided if at all possible. Especially as we age, getting beaten up or catching a knife can put us under the grass. And for some (me) there is a tension between novelty/stimulation/pleasure, and safety. Everyone just has to decide where s/he is comfortable on that continuum.

Where I live now is 1.5 miles from dead center of Seattle's downtown highend retail district. (Nordstrom, Barney's, etc.) As best I can tell, there has been little or no violent crime near me in the five years I have been here. About 8 blocks away a young woman was murdered on her way home from work at 7 pm, by a psychotic slasher. Maybe once a year or so a body turns up in a vacant lot. This is not likely in the suburbs. People who would really stand out in a suburban neighborhood blend in here. Yet, there have been suburban home invasion robberies leading to murder, so it isnít totally clear. I have walked home from buses after midnight, and though it is not absolutely safe, what is? The only time I have been seriously hurt was in a car crash on a suburban highway at 5 pm returning from a grocery store.

Another thing in the bigger picture is that if well off people need or want to live centrally, a way likely will be found to make it safer. When I first moved to Venice Beach in the late 60s, there was a lot of crime. But folks, good air, a beach, a boardwalk, it had to be made inhabitable for affluent people, and it was. Everytime you turned around there was a police cruiser, and often enough a police helicopter was shining its searchlight on the beach, or down alleys, or whereever. Venice Beach is still Bohemian, but in the sense that Greenwich Village or SOHO are still Bohemian. Boho/rico, as opposed to Boho/pobre.

To me, it is what do I want? And is what I want so risky that I had better take something possibly less risky, but that I do not want? The person who owned the apartment that I am buying had some valuable objects. The system of iron gates between the outside and the apartment is formidable, and only 3 apartments use these gates, so I hope they will tend to be kept closed. So far, whenever I have gone over there they are closed. Another good sign I think is a very high gay population in the building and the neighborhood, plus evidence of over a 20 year period of neighborhood improvement and increasing investment in upscale multipurpose apartments and condos as well as high tech office developments.

Ha
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:19 PM   #62
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In cities where crime is under control, I can certainly see the attraction of living in the city.
For me, high crime is a dealbreaker... but so too is noise and concern about sharing walls with noisy neighbors. That alone likely rules out city life for me.
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:10 PM   #63
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For me, high crime is a dealbreaker... but so too is noise and concern about sharing walls with noisy neighbors. That alone likely rules out city life for me.
True, and also there's the scarcity of off-street parking. I want my next home to have a garage! No way am I going to park my pretty Venza on the street blocks from where I live.
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:30 PM   #64
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All our unique experiences and varies locations of nearby metros definitely affect our thought process. To a life long rural, small town person, like myself, W2R, I would think your location would be right in the city! I know that is wrong obviously. A lot of rural people like myself, tend to lump the metro area into the proper city, even though that is not the case. But, I guess suburbian people can sometimes think this way, too. I recently read an editorial in the paper concerning the economic decline of certain areas in the city of St. Louis. The writer commented that the problem wont change until people from the suburbs wont get over their ridiculous fear of getting shot, at 2 oclock on a tuesday afternoon in the city (they were referring to good areas, not bad, as many misinformed people tend to lump them all together).
Well, in a sense you are absolutely right! I am very close to the city proper and not really in a fringe suburb, even though I am slightly over the official city boundaries. Like St. Louis, the city grew beyond these boundaries long ago and I am in a close suburb which is essentially part of the city. Supposedly the crime here is lower than it is in most of the metro area, but there are still too many murders for anyone's taste.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:08 AM   #65
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We moved into this retirement community two years ago and love it. I suppose most of you have heard about the Sun City communities at various locations around the country. Ours happens to be in Florida. Our community is about 20K residents. Everything you need in ordinary life is within golf cart range, from banks to grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor offices, a hospital, restaurants, Home Depot, WalMart, seven golf courses, housing ranging from $50K to $500K, etc. I think one of the great perks is that everything is accessible by golf cart. Everybody has one and they are legal on the streets except for the major state highway the runs right through the middle of the city. When you are too old to drive or can't drive anymore or gas prices get too high you can still navigate around town on your golf cart. I love it here.
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Old 12-02-2011, 07:15 AM   #66
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We moved into this retirement community two years ago and love it. I suppose most of you have heard about the Sun City communities at various locations around the country. Ours happens to be in Florida. Our community is about 20K residents. Everything you need in ordinary life is within golf cart range, from banks to grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor offices, a hospital, restaurants, Home Depot, WalMart, seven golf courses, housing ranging from $50K to $500K, etc. I think one of the great perks is that everything is accessible by golf cart. Everybody has one and they are legal on the streets except for the major state highway the runs right through the middle of the city. When you are too old to drive or can't drive anymore or gas prices get too high you can still navigate around town on your golf cart. I love it here.
If people too old to drive autos are driving around on golf carts, I'd think it might be dangerous to walk anywhere.
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:45 AM   #67
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We moved into this retirement community two years ago and love it. I suppose most of you have heard about the Sun City communities at various locations around the country. Ours happens to be in Florida. Our community is about 20K residents. Everything you need in ordinary life is within golf cart range, from banks to grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor offices, a hospital, restaurants, Home Depot, WalMart, seven golf courses, housing ranging from $50K to $500K, etc. I think one of the great perks is that everything is accessible by golf cart. Everybody has one and they are legal on the streets except for the major state highway the runs right through the middle of the city. When you are too old to drive or can't drive anymore or gas prices get too high you can still navigate around town on your golf cart. I love it here.
I know some people malign the 55 and over communities. Me, personally, I would really like to live in one of those provided it has a pool and golf course that isnt overcrowded. Trouble is, Im still 7 years too young, to join one. I would do it now, and it wouldnt bother me a bit.
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Old 12-02-2011, 11:48 AM   #68
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[A lot of stuff about the crime situation in Seattle snipped.]

I too live in the Seattle area. Reading the local paper - The Seattle Times - I get the distinct impression that the locus of crime in Seattle is moving south into the South King County suburbs. The gang shooting in Kent last summer, e.g. Nothing like that happened when lived in Kent 30 years ago.

There seem to be demographic shifts happening in the Seattle area that suggest that the safety advantage of the suburbs may be shifting back to Seattle. An example of such a shift is the gentrification of the Central District also reported in the Times.

Those who live in the 'burbs probably shouldn't be too smug about their lifestyle.
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:25 PM   #69
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If gas prices shoot up too much, I wonder if it would encourage some people who are already close to retirement, to just take the plunge and do it.

For instance, my Mom and stepdad used to carpool to work together. They'd drive to my Mom's job, he'd drop her off, and then continue in to work. They drove about 130 miles per day, and the car got, at best, 30 mpg. So, that's about 4.3 gallons per day, or 21.7 gallons per week.

Gas is currently around $3.25 per gallon for 87 octane, so that represents a cost of around $70.50 per week, just in fuel for commuting. If gasoline shot to $10/gal, that's suddenly $217 per week! That might be just enough incentive to push some people who are right at the threshold to go on and retire.

Incidentally, my Mom and stepdad did both retire early this year, but fuel costs had nothing to do with it. They're down in the boonies in southern MD, where you really have to drive to get to anything. I think the closest real grocery store is a McKays about 7-8 miles away and in the next county, although there is a WaWa about 3-4 miles away, and probably a little Mom & Pop store here and there. No plans to relocate though, as they love the serenity.

In my case, where I live looks like the boonies, but you don't have to go very far to find development, crowding, and traffic congestion. But, DC's 10 miles away, Annapolis is 15-20, and Baltimore's 30, so it sort of gives a nice compromise between country living and big-city convenience.

My job is 2.5 miles away. Nearest grocery store is under 2, plenty of shopping malls and such. Only problem is, it's not really walkable. Gotta drive to get anywhere, unless you like the idea of lugging groceries on your back walking down the shoulder of a 4-lane highway!
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Old 12-02-2011, 12:58 PM   #70
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I know some people malign the 55 and over communities. Me, personally, I would really like to live in one of those provided it has a pool and golf course that isnt overcrowded. Trouble is, Im still 7 years too young, to join one. I would do it now, and it wouldnt bother me a bit.
I'm the opposite. I'd consider it at some point but I *don't* want to pay for a golf course since I don't golf and don't plan to take it up. (It would make me w*rk longer because I'd need considerably higher retirement income to support that new hobby.)

To me the main attraction would be the *quiet* without the isolation of "20 acres in the middle of nowhere". I have little tolerance for noisy neighborhoods and noisy neighbors.
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Old 12-02-2011, 05:25 PM   #71
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[A lot of stuff about the crime situation in Seattle snipped.]

I too live in the Seattle area. Reading the local paper - The Seattle Times - I get the distinct impression that the locus of crime in Seattle is moving south into the South King County suburbs. The gang shooting in Kent last summer, e.g. Nothing like that happened when lived in Kent 30 years ago.
No doubt about this. The King County Sheriff's Dept has a big gang task force mostly deployed in So. King County. As to the CD gentrifying, it had to happen. It has many very nice older homes-after all this was one of Seattle's premier neighborhoods before WW2. It has good public transportation, it has nice wide streets and mature trees, it has sidewalks, and it is close close close to downtown. Especially E Cherry and north it is amazing to see all the quality development going on. A few months ago the Seattle Times ran an article detailing the demographic shifts in one old Roman Catholic parish, Immaculate Conception at 18th and E Cherry. As I remember it is moving back toward its prewar composition.

Also, I hesitate to mention this because I seem like too much an urban booster, but the SPD is likely in a much better position to deal with crime as it arises than small Police Departments in outlying areas. (Not including Bellevue, or prime Eastside communities which have excellent police response.)

A few days ago WSJ ran an article about the pervasive meth problem in Kentucky. I have a friend who does criminal law back there, he has been telling me about "hillbilly heroin" for years.

BTW Dudester, could you PM me the crime info that you snipped? Thanks,

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Old 12-02-2011, 05:41 PM   #72
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To me the main attraction would be the *quiet* without the isolation of "20 acres in the middle of nowhere". I have little tolerance for noisy neighborhoods and noisy neighbors.
My daughter recalls an episode when they lived in South Florida. Some friends parents had a townhome in a senior community in Fl. They - DD and her friends, visited and one evening around 7 they were sitting in the outdoor whirlpool / jacuzzi. The water heater was on, and it makes a bit of noise. A neighbor opened his door, in pj's and robe, walked over and shut off the heater, turned around and went back into his home. Never said a word.

Hopefully I won't have to choose between a noisy neighborhood and a senior community. Both can be hard to deal with.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:18 PM   #73
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If people too old to drive autos are driving around on golf carts, I'd think it might be dangerous to walk anywhere.
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