City vs. Suburbs – Where Do You Want to Live?


Ever since the explosion of suburbs in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the debate has raged about where it’s better to live. But as communities evolve and the landscape of our nation changes, the arguments for both sides are getting stronger.

Where we choose to make our homes and live is one of the biggest decisions we will make. The consequences and outcomes that stem from our living location decisions can have wide ranging effects on everything from our health to how well our children do in life.

So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

Suburban and City Stereotypes

For years the argument has been that the suburbs are for families, older people and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The stereotype was that suburbs are quiet, calm and boring.

They were also pegged as cheaper. You could get more house, more land and more of everything outside of the city for a lot less.

Conversely, cities had the reputation of being the centers of business, culture and fun. The young, the hip and the influential lived in the hearts of cities. The bigger place you had in a city, the more money you had because typically they were much more expensive than their “quiet” counterparts out in the boonies.

The downsides of city living were typically higher prices, more noise, more pollution, more crime, worse schools and less space.

Where you decided to live had a lot to do with your preferences , income, profession, life stage and so on. Maybe you lived in the city while you were going to school and started a career. As you got married, got older and started thinking about having kids, you moved out to the suburbs to get some elbow room and let junior go to a good school.

Stereotypes Evolving

While stereotypes are usually based on some sort of long held truth, that doesn’t mean that they can’t change. A lot of the things we have typically thought about suburbs and cities are evovling. For example:

  1. The suburbs aren’t always boring. With higher city prices more young, hip and creative types are finding suburban living the way to go. They can afford more, have better access to things that are important to them (farmer’s markets, organic supermarkets, jobs) and most cities work hard to make the flow of traffic from one side of town to the other as painless as possible.
  2. Cities don’t hold the monopoly on “cool” as much as they once did. Once upon a time, you had to live in the city or take one heck of commute to find that cool new clothing line, an underground band or get the latest taste concoction. But with the Internet, everything is a couple of clicks away. And as more of the customer base moves out from the city core, the businesses, entertainment and cultural happenings are following.
  3. You can raise a family in the city. With a mix of people living in city centers, there has been an increased interest in making them more livable for everyone. Parks, roof top gardens, better schools (some private, some public) and more space to live are being worked into city plans. It’s completely possible to raise a family in the city.
  4. City living isn’t as expensive as it once was. Many people are finding that after the real estate crash, it’s not worth it to live in the suburbs. The home values are not as stable as once thought and once you factor in the price of gas and auto maintenance, it may not be worth it.

What’s your preference; city or suburb? Let us know in the comments section!