city living... WTF?

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Riggerjack
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city living... WTF?

Post by Riggerjack »

I was raised wherever rent was cheapest, that meant tiny towns, or some of the rougher areas of Tacoma, and occasionally, deep, deep backwoods. When I was in the service, I lived on post, around towns that didn't have sharp divisions between city and suburbs. When I got out, I moved to the suburbs, because I needed to be close enough to commute, but working in construction meant I could be working anywhere. Suburbs were cheaper rent than Seattle. Then, when I wanted to buy, houses in my price range were out past Everett, so I bought in marysville.
so, I've never lived in the city. I've had friends live there, no parking, have to leave the city to buy anything, living in 100 year old houses that have been split up to Max out rent, rentals have been rentals for fifty years, and it shows...
so, I have no direct experience, and second hand is fairly negative, but I read alot of hostility on this board toward suburbs, and small town. Jacob himself has described himself as cosmopolitan and "not a small town personality ".
so what gives? Those of you who live in cities, why? What is the advantage? What is it that you do, that can't be done in areas with more personal space?

Felix
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by Felix »

There is a tradeoff between commute time and real estate price. When you have to commute 2 hours a day, this cuts into your free time and lowers your effective pay per hour. These two hours could be spent working overtime or could be spent privately when the job already consumes much of the day (time for family, taking care of health, hobbies, investments, etc.).
Another argument is that it is harder to ditch the car when you live outside the city (depending on public transportation). That alone would be enough to finance the difference in rent when it applies.

Many jobs are only available in the city, so then most of these tradeoff deals above come into play.

There's also the issue of culture and nightlife being more available in the city. That may be a motivation for some who consider life in the suburbs to be boring - personal preference, basically.

Personally, once I've saved my money, I'll move to the country.

Riggerjack
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by Riggerjack »

Yeah, married and in my 40's, nightlife is a non issue for me. I hear you on the commute, but what jobs can only be done in cities? Longshoremen, professors at city universities, I can see those, but how many jobs are really that location dependent?

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Ego
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by Ego »

Sharing vs owning.

The opportunities to share resources is concentrated in cities. The further one gets from cities the more those opportunities diffuse. In x-burbs and rural areas one must own/maintain those resources or travel far to share.

Edit: Economies of scale & competition. A vendor serving a small community has smaller scale and less competition to encourage lower prices.

JasonR
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by JasonR »

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Last edited by JasonR on Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Riggerjack
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by Riggerjack »

@ ego, what resources are you sharing in the city? Personally, I like owning. It allows me to make the choice, and live with the consequences of that choice. Much better than a choice by committee. If I don't like the consequences of my choices, I can make better choices, not much I can do to improve the decisions of the group mind.
As to the economy of scale, you need something very specialized to need a city sized population to support it. I'm thinking imported rough sawn hardwood lumber. When I need a nicely figured check free large piece of Bolivian rosewood, I need to go into the city. Everything else is available everywhere else.

UrbanHermit
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by UrbanHermit »

Those of you who live in cities, why? What is the advantage? What is it that you do, that can't be done in areas with more personal space?
Might as well ask an inmate what the advantages of jail are. You make it sound like it's a lifestyle choice, not a harsh economic reality.

Being a ways from ERE, I have to live where I can find a job, and a 4h+ daily commute is more than I can handle (1h each way from my place of work won't even get past the suburbs). The job market in rural areas is limited at the best of times, for my skillset all but non-existant.

If I could get out of the city and still make ends meet, I'd pack up and leave today.
Last edited by UrbanHermit on Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

chicago81
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by chicago81 »

I grew up in a rural area. Then I went away to attend university in Houghton MI (an even less populated town!)
Following graduation, I moved to a big city for the first time in my life (Chicago). I mostly enjoyed living in the big city for my 20s. However, as I approach my mid-30s (and am quickly approaching early retirement) I am leaning toward deciding to move out to the countryside again.

Here are some reasons why I am tired of living in the city:
- This morning at 4:30am, the garbage truck awoke my partner and me while it was in the alley collecting trash from the dumpsters. This happens often, although not always quite that early.
- I am tired of hearing my neighbors music, footsteps, babies crying, fire alarms from burning food, etc through the shared walls in the condominium building.
- I am tired of the high taxes.
- I am tired of the traffic and the noise from so many people honking.
- I am tired of the constant rudeness and general irritability of most people in general in a big city.
- I am tired of the high crime rate, and hearing police/fire/ambulance sirens ringing DAILY in the evening or at night.
- I want to have a fairly large and private outdoor space.

Yes, there are advantages to being in a city like this: cultural amenities, many different speciality/exotic foods and groceries are easily available, walkability, ease of public transit, etc. But I have reached a point in my life where it isn't worth it anymore.

Seneca
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by Seneca »

Funny, I was in Seattle for a quick trip this week and mentioned to my colleague how stark a reminder it was of why we worked so hard to move to the country. This in spite of the fact I find Seattle one of the nicest/cleanest/safest big cities.

While we don't really take much advantage, where I live now I find the barter economy much more lively than I did in the city.

workathome
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by workathome »

I feel uncomfortable in loud, crowded, or fast-paced places. This essentially eliminates the city-life and what most people find attractive about it. I get stressed, can't think well, and a bit claustrophobic. Perhaps it's a weakness to be overcome, but there's so many beautiful and wonderful non-city parts to the world that it doesn't seem an issue.

I didn't like Berlin, Toronto, Nashville, or Chicago. Reykjavik was okay, but that's pretty tiny by comparison.

George the original one
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by George the original one »

@Riggerjack - you and I live in the wonderful pacific north wet, where the countryside is scenic, entertaining, and educational. People in the mid-west have, well, open skies... if I lived in the mid-west, I'd be much more inclined to live closer to town.

George the original one
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by George the original one »

@Riggerjack - you and I live in the wonderful pacific north wet, where the countryside is scenic, entertaining, and educational. People in the mid-west have, well, open skies... if I lived in the mid-west, I'd be much more inclined to live closer to town.

lilacorchid
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by lilacorchid »

We talk about this. We were both raised in small towns, myself in what used to be considered a remote location. I've been in the city for 15 years now, and I'm about done. The noise, lights, and proximity to people are really starting to make me a bit crazy.

On the other hand, I don't think I could go back to living in a very rural area. It is hard to find people to be friends with there. I can no longer pretend to fit in like I once did. And then our child and his life comes in to play too.

For now, our jobs are both city jobs, so we are here until we can leave. Even then, I don't think our base will be far, even if we are away for extended periods.

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C40
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by C40 »

George - in the Midwest we have regular sunshine. It is very nice! :-). Depending on the specific area, there are nice parks/forests. In Wiscobsin I lived 15 minutes from a huge park that I could go spend an entire week hiking through. There aren't mountains but many areas have nice rolling hills, and in some cases (WI) steep ones. it's not all flat like IL. Some areas also have an abundance of lakes and rivers for those into that stuff.

I don't have a strong preference of city or small towns. Not a fan of suburbs with very wide sprawl though.

There are a number of city benefits:
- Better libraries
- Better parks
- Big (and in some cases, free) museums
- More people to make friends with (and with the larger pool, higher chance you can find friends/groups that share very specific interests)
- Way more women (/men) for potential relationships
- more free activities going on (festivals, events, etc)
- more nightlife
- way more people selling/buying things used (more active Craigslist)

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Ego
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by Ego »

Riggerjack wrote:@ ego, what resources are you sharing in the city? Personally, I like owning. It allows me to make the choice, and live with the consequences of that choice. Much better than a choice by committee. If I don't like the consequences of my choices, I can make better choices, not much I can do to improve the decisions of the group mind.
As to the economy of scale, you need something very specialized to need a city sized population to support it. I'm thinking imported rough sawn hardwood lumber. When I need a nicely figured check free large piece of Bolivian rosewood, I need to go into the city. Everything else is available everywhere else.
I share walls, a roof, water-heating, landscaping, trash service and a recreation room with 30 tenants. How much does the average roof cost? I share a first-class pool, gym equipment, and fitness center with thousands of others. Much less than maintaining a lap pool and a gym in my garage. I share a fabulous library system and several excellent parks/museums within walking distance.

All of these things can be found in rural areas but they are fewer, further apart and the quality is significantly lower.

Regarding economies of scale/competition: I went to a rural area the weekend before last and was shocked by the prices at the grocery store. Here we have many choices and the prices are far less. For example, spinach at the rural store costs 8x the price of our local Asian market.

djc
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by djc »

We live in a small Great Lakes town about an hour away from a major city. We have the benefits of cheaper & higher quality housing, friendly neighbors, access to the Lake, wonderful parks, low taxes, knowing your neighbors and practically no traffic. We are close enough to drive into the big city for world-class medical care, professional sports teams and one of the best orchestras in the world.

Why would we live in a crime infested, congested city with high taxes? We could have never retired early if we lived in a big city.

djc

JohnnyH
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by JohnnyH »

I've lived about half my life in big city and half small town... Small town(s) for most of my adult life now.

Sometimes I feel like I did it backwards; spent 20s in small town. I missed out a much dating, partying, eating out, being able to find dozens of people with similar interests... Whatever else the city has.

That said, I likely saved more money here and [hopefully] made more productive use of my time... When I visit friends in the big city I do marvel at the world class Thai food within walking distance, the library with everything, the ability to purchase/consume virtually anything you might want that second, the thousands of 'night life' establishments, the multitudes of interesting and attractive people, many of whom share my interests (that few small town and rural people do)... But I get over it pretty fast. Driving around in traffic, going to a crowded big-box store, dealing with corporate culture, growing local govt's gone mad, noisy neighbors that demand you respect the HOA authoritay!, complete dependence on others, ; all makes me pine for the country.

Touched on this in the ERE city thread, but I think because I'm mostly Introvert I want 80% country and 20% city... Excluding searching for a mate (slim pickins in many small towns), I am content venturing into the city and living in the country. I was much less content the other way around.

My ideal setting:
*reasonable real estate prices and taxes (rules out most of North East, CA, much of WA and OR)
*biking distance to small town with basic amenities
*within 2 hour drive (150 miles) of "big" town... Seems like a lot of driving, but 2 hours on the open road bothers me less than 20 mins in city rush hour.
*biking/walking/short driving distance to ample public lands with timber and game... I like rural, but not without a mix of non-private lands... This rules out most east of Mississippi and most under the sphere of influence of major city (timber harvest = tree murder & hunting = scary guns)
*not a desert (rules out much west of Mississippi), geological diversity, seasonality, enough moisture to support my hobbies agricultural and recreational.

Seneca
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by Seneca »

@JohnnyH- found your spot that meets all those?

JohnnyH
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by JohnnyH »

@Seneca: Yes, in quite a few spots, in the US mostly in the western states: AZ, CO, ID, NM, NV, MT, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY... Which, is where I've lived most of my life, so I'm not sure if this is my logical conclusion, or if I'm just describing my surroundings. ;)

stoneage
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Re: city living... WTF?

Post by stoneage »

I grew up in urban areas and just bought my house in the most rural setting, a few miles from small town(s).

I think for ERE both are feasible, as long as it meets your lifestyle.

I often pay visit to my relatives (dad, mum, sis) in Lyon, FRA. Although this is one of the nicest city I now of, I'm done with the noise, traffic, unfriendly / aggressive people, stressful jobs, unnecessary tiring shopping.

Movies, theatre, libraries, bars, are great, sure. Education is far better there for my kids too.
But I just can't take the above anymore.

One thing that striked me, was how some of you care about finding people with similar interests.
I use internet for that, and tend to avoid them IRL, because in my experince people with too much similar interests usually end up boring and cocky. I try to get along with neighbours, and talk about the weather, their dogs and their life. Not all are friendly, but some are definitely worth the hassle of getting over differences.
Then In rural areas hobbys are related to the setting (biking, fishing, hunting, gardening) or to farming and woodworking, so it should not be hard to find people who like such things..

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