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Do you care what town you live in?


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I have been living in my current town for about 2 years. It is a nice town, with a very historic and picturesque downtown. But, overall the town is just "okay". When you drive along the main streets there doesn't seem to be a lot of upkeep. Like most towns, it has it's share of problems but some seem to go beyond what I think a normal town would have. Some (rumored) prostitution, lots of drugs, etc.

 

The neighborhood I live in is nice, quiet, etc., but there are a few foreclosed homes in there. 

 

When thinking long term, my experience with the town has been fine and I could see myself settling there. But when I take a wider look I wonder if I need to be concerned.

 

Do you care about the overall town as long as you feel safe in your house and neighborhood? Or do you want the whole town to feel like it cares about itself aesthetically? 

 

 

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Most of my life I have spent living outside any town/city limits in unincorporated areas. I would like to get to vote in the city but not enough that I'd pay the taxes of living in city limits lol

 

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Yes, it matters to us very much and we were incredibly thorough about our research. We're relocating to Raleigh, NC this summer because we want:

lower cost of living
tech city (husband and soon to be son-in-law are programmers)
metro area of 1,000,000+ for work options, educational opportunities, high quality medical care, and cosmopolitan social attitudes
lower crime rate
growing population with a history of a steady housing market
major airport for more travel time options
temperate zone with 4 distinct seasons-no regular extreme weather with foodscaping opportunities (.5-2 acres)
significant Asian American population (youngest is a Korean adoptee)
outdoorsy lifestyle opportunities for hiking and kayaking nearby
short day's drive to ocean and mountains

My husband's current employment allows him to work anywhere in the world, so when we started considering locations we had to establish criteria and use various sources of data to narrow down our options.  Data is beautiful, the census info online, voting records, religion stats, and other city data were very helpful to us.
 

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Yes, we chose our home based on location.  It was definitely NOT nicest or newest home in our price range. It is in the "affluent" suburb of the area, and has a really well-rated school district.

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Yep. I do. If I didn't I'd move one town over and get a house twice the size for half the price. :) My dh says I'm a bit of a snob about how I feel about our town compared to others and maybe he's right, but I like everything about living here. I could find another neighborhood in a good place and still drive here for everything else but it wouldn't be the same! This is though, the only place I've lived that I've been this enthusiastic about. Everywhere else has been more a feeling as you describe. 

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It's difficult because towns/cities can change dramatically over a few decades. As gentrification has pushed people out of the inner cities, a lot of them have been displaced to the 'burbs, bringing crime and other problems with them. I live in an upper middle class neighborhood but it isn't as safe as it used to be 20 years ago (not that we lived here back then but from what my neighbors tell me).

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I do, but I don't have the luxury to select where I live. We live where the job is, and that means living in a town we don't care for very much. If I had to make a list of features I want my desired town to have, this has very few of them.

But when we retire and can choose where to live, the town will definitely matter.

Edited by regentrude
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It's difficult because towns/cities can change dramatically over a few decades. As gentrification has pushed people out of the inner cities, a lot of them have been displaced to the 'burbs, bringing crime and other problems with them. I live in an upper middle class neighborhood but it isn't as safe as it used to be 20 years ago (not that we lived here back then but from what my neighbors tell me).

 

Our local suburban crime and other problems, including domestic violence and drugs, do not come from urban neighbors fleeing gentrification. It's the white folks who grew up in these small towns, who have lost their damned minds. I recognize the names of criminals, in the paper of the middle class, former farming community where I grew up. Those families have lived there for generations,

 

How do you know the source of your suburban crime?

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I do care.  I'm kind of upset at the direction our town is taking.  The path of squeezing out the maximum possible tax dollars regardless of long term effect.

I live in a cute railroad town and the towns north and south of me are doing so well and managing things so much better.  Of course they are all trying to one up each other, but ours is not doing it very well.  The other towns have fun stuff and nice restaurants and we have pizza joint and chain restaurants despite having the same atmosphere.  I want to be here longterm, but I'm not sure about it anymore.

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I do, but I don't have the luxury to select where I live. We live where the job is, and that means living in a town we don't care for very much. If I had to make a list of features I want my desired town to have, this has very few of them.

But when we retire and can choose where to live, the town will definitely matter.

I agree with this. We picked based on job location. There are several towns around here to choose from and the one we’re in has the best re-sell value. However, this town isn’t at the top of my list of places I’d choose to live. But we have to go where the job is...

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Yes, it matters very much to me. I've been here for over 40 years, and dh was born here. He has relatives who were here (across the road) from the 1890's. We are about to give up a VERY large hunk of cash in order to preserve our ranch. We're hoping to close (finally--it's been 3 years) next week. I smile when I read the local once-a-week paper. Gosh, I even check the obits--guess I'm getting old. It's unusual to not know most of the people in each article, and I personally know all of the paper's writers. We have a yearly spoof of the local scene portrayed at the arts center. I know immediately which person they're spoofing in each photo. 

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We do care in terms of safety and commute distance but also have to take into account affordability. So the safest we can afford at time of buying and then the shortest possible commute if there is more than one safe affordable option.

 

Some cities are very large though. There are parts of San Jose that I won’t mind living in but not the downtown San Jose area which scares me because some panhandlers are aggressive.

 

I agree with this. We picked based on job location. There are several towns around here to choose from and the one we’re in has the best re-sell value. However, this town isn’t at the top of my list of places I’d choose to live. But we have to go where the job is...

We picked based on job availability as well, then what we can afford without too much risk. I would prefer staying nearer when my husband work but that is unaffordable to us.
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When I was younger it didn't matter so much where we lived. With kids, it definitely does. It also matters more to me now that I have been stuck in a city I'm not happy with. Though I try to stay positive and get the most out of it. It's hard sometimes. 

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If I imagine my ideal location, I'm imagining a place where I wouldn't feel comfortable or fit in.

 

So I live somewhere I know that I can "be" and not feel like I'm living someone else's life, even though the schools are not super and the neighbors are hit or miss and we don't have sidewalks or amenities. DH probably feels the same way, although I'm sure he's put a lot less thought into it than I have!

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I would be happy in most any large city or small town, but do not care for suburbs that have grown large and quickly as sleeper communities for nearby cities. They tend to lack character, as whatever character they had as small towns before they bloated has been erased by master planned communities and strip malls. I also do not care for wealthy burbs who think that things like homelessness are primarily aesthetic inconveniences best solved with things like laws against feeding homeless people in public and petty vagrancy laws.

 

I do prefer to live in a safe neighborhood--but also one with good public transit, and a mix of income levels and life stages of residents.

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I've seen towns, exactly like you described, turn into booming trendy towns and some town turn into really run down cities with high unemployment and high crime.  You need to take a really good look at what is causing the foreclosures and rumors.  Would you be okay if you bought a home and then the value plummetted?  If you see that the closure of local industry is causing the foreclosures with no relief in sight, it's pretty telling.  On the other hand, my old hometown is what you described, but it boomed in recent years.  The location was convenient so a lot of companies came in and the town has become the newest hipster place with a ton of new local shops and trendy restaurants.  

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I've historically been unhappy where I live. I've also moved about every 5 years, not necessarily town but house/apartment and that helped keep things fresh. I'm currently living in the city in which I'll stay. I have massive wanderlust, so I'm still not totally at grips with it, but this town is in the processing of revitalization and I'm thrilled to be a part of that. It holds a lot of history, which is important to me. 

 

Do I think ds will stay here? No, I hope he doesn't, he wants something different. I kind of like considering that this town will be reborn as I grow old in it. I have several generations of one side of my family that has living around this area for over a century, that does mean something now that I'm older. 

 

I never thought I'd end up back here, but I'm comfortable here and that is something I haven't felt any other place I've lived in at least 20 years. 

 

As for what a town requires for me: some form of jobs, culture, a sense of pride in its history, good services, a sense of community. I like going places and running into people I know. 

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I have very few roots and don't really care where I live in relation to family.

 

What I am getting more sensitive to, is the crime, litter, gangs, vandalism, and rude people.  I would love to retire in some area that i could actually feel safe in.  Right now I am stuck where I am for resources for my 2 daughters. But maybe someday I can move to another area that doesn't feel like the criminals out number the law abiding folk. 

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I believe I could be happy to live anywhere. I do prefer to live close enough to my husband’s work that he can come home easily if needed. I also prefer to live where I can go hiking.

 

It is quite likely for his career we may eventually live out of state. His industry is centered in a couple different areas and neither is where I would prefer to live. But we would go where the job is and make the most of it.

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I really like my city.  If I hadn't liked it. we would have moved when my dh retired from the military.  Oh and I particularly wanted to live in a city because I want to be close to hospitals, restaurants, venues, etc.  My city has some crime (and in my part of the state, the criminals are often whites who aren't living in our city but come into it to steal cars, metal, burglarize homes and business, etc). I also like living in a city, compared to county, because I like the more strigent regulations like no dogs running loose and no shooting of guns  in the city (so no gun hunting).  We know of people living in county lands who have problems with hunters shooting into their property or with loose dogs.  One further thing I love about my city is the way its run,.  Like we voted for a 1/2 cent increase in our sales tax to fund both new roads and improving old roads.  And we started seeing great improvements in roads almost immediately. 

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Our local suburban crime and other problems, including domestic violence and drugs, do not come from urban neighbors fleeing gentrification. It's the white folks who grew up in these small towns, who have lost their damned minds. I recognize the names of criminals, in the paper of the middle class, former farming community where I grew up. Those families have lived there for generations,

 

How do you know the source of your suburban crime?

 

Last week at a high school about 10 minutes away from my house a student who is allegedly a member of the Norteno street gang was arrested with a loaded gun and a "large capacity magazine". The article goes on to say that the school was the scene of a brutal gang-related homicide in November.

 

These gang members are not the white folks whose families have lived in the area for generations.

 

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I used to. Now I just care about the proximity to my son’s school. I’d live in a shack next to the railroad tracks if it were a stone’s throw to my son’s school. Unfortunately for me, due to a strange convergence of circumstances, I can’t afford to leave the affluent suburb we actually do live in. The places we are looking are places I never figured I would be willing to live. That may be a short term view because it’s not like high school lasts forever.

Edited by LucyStoner
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Growing up and for a long time I didn't.  I just lived where I ended up!  It always seemed fine -- we always made the best of it and found things to enjoy.  Of course in hind site you think about things and wonder how you put up with it!  

 

But now that I'm older and have lived in a lot of different cities and environments, I've definitely become choosier.  Next time we move, it will be much more about the city and neighborhood, assuming we have a choice.

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I don't really live in a town.  I live in a community on the township line.  The township is mostly woods, water, and farmland.  I don't like my community, but I love my township.  We have our share of crime, but not more than I've seen anywhere else.

 

I like being in the middle of nowhere.

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Thank you for all the replies. When I am in my home I am very happy and secure. But, driving around can be depressing. Unless I am right downtown everything just looks so ..... rundown I guess. 

 

The past few towns I lived in looked so nice when driving around, whether it be nice open space or people who really cared about their houses and landscaping, etc. I guess this would be more of a blue collar town. People are busy working and don't have as much money to throw into pretty trees for their front lawns. 

 

Ah, well, if my history has taught me anything its that I will be moving again in a few years. And after being so rudely uprooted (haha) I have learned that family and security mean much more than rolling green lawns. 

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Yes, we chose our home based on location. It was definitely NOT nicest or newest home in our price range. It is in the "affluent" suburb of the area, and has a really well-rated school district.

Yup. Our temp home is a modest house in the nicest and most centrally located area, and so is the land we bought. That was critically important to me, the feel of the town and livability long term.

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I don't care about the town prioritizing aesthetics. I care about the town keeping services up and not taxing families out.  Unfortunately that is what has happened, the silver set has used their majority to spend on senior services and give themselves tax exemptions while the schools, roads, etc are languishing.  The PD have figured out how many tickets to write per month to make up for the loss in funding, but that state isn't making up for the Property Tax shortage - that's all falling on the families who aren't exempt. Most of my neighbors have moved and the homes are now illegal multifamily rentals, featuring one family or one shacked up couple per bedroom, cars parked on former lawns etc. The drug dealers moved in, etc etc.  You bet your boots I won't be retiring in a town like this.  Its looking like the insular religious groups from the city are buying in, since they have no need for the public schools and qualify for tax exemptions, so yep, we've got buyers in sight.  My next home will be in a more economically diverse area, where boomers don't live.

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Yes, the way a town runs and how it is to live in makes a huge difference to my quality of life.  I like to have things I need fairly close, the ability to get around a fair bit without using a car, certain public services and community groups, and I also like it to be aesthetically pleasing.  Dh likes services to be well run and good value for money spent.

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We chose to be near family, both in the city was live in and the neighbourhood we bought our house. It's been a good choice as the dc grow up. When emergencies have occurred, and they always do, we've had support of family close by. There are also a lot of opportunities for current and future education and extra-curricular activities for us parents and our dc.  

 

As my dh and I age, I think we'll probably stay relatively close to where we live now for many of the same reasons. We'll put up with the cold weather, and the annoying political climate, and hopefully be able to travel to see other parts of the world.

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I didn't care when we bought our last house. We had no friends, undesirable neighbors, and extremely limited opportunities for our children.

 

This time we chose much more carefully. This town is extremely modest, even run down. But people are kind and welcoming, children are plentiful, and opportunities abound.

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Yes, it matters to us very much and we were incredibly thorough about our research. We're relocating to Raleigh, NC this summer because we want:

 

lower cost of living

tech city (husband and soon to be son-in-law are programmers)

metro area of 1,000,000+ for work options, educational opportunities, high quality medical care, and cosmopolitan social attitudes

lower crime rate

growing population with a history of a steady housing market

major airport for more travel time options

temperate zone with 4 distinct seasons-no regular extreme weather with foodscaping opportunities (.5-2 acres)

significant Asian American population (youngest is a Korean adoptee)

outdoorsy lifestyle opportunities for hiking and kayaking nearby

short day's drive to ocean and mountains

 

My husband's current employment allows him to work anywhere in the world, so when we started considering locations we had to establish criteria and use various sources of data to narrow down our options.  Data is beautiful, the census info online, voting records, religion stats, and other city data were very helpful to us.

 

 

I didn't know you were moving to NC.  

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Hmmmm.....well, I would say it matters, but then I lived in the LA area for almost 20 years and some of the areas weren't pretty.  Living in the desert and being on water rations, yards can look bad, etc...

 

Right now we live in a very nice area, 18 miles to the center of the city and the entire area around us is all well kept,   While I like it, I would like to live closer in to the city.  But we dont' plan to be here more than a few more years.

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