City vs. Suburbs

Should you live in the city or the suburbs?

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You're thinking of moving and you're debating about whether to live in an urban center or the suburbs. The problem is that there are so many arguments on both sides of the debate that you're finding it hard to make up your mind.
After all, chances are if you were to ask your acquaintances where they prefer to live, and why, those in the suburbs will be biased toward suburban living, and those in the city will be in favor of the urban lifestyle. In coming to a decision, you'll want to explore the pros and cons and decide which factors are most important to you and your family.

Pros of urban living
Living in an urban center can be great if you enjoy the hustle and bustle. You're close to where the action is, where deals are both made and broken in the corridors of financial and political power. The urban center is also the place to be if you enjoy arts and culture, with so many galleries, theaters, museums and other similar places.

If you're a "foodie" or a social animal, then nothing beats the array of bars, clubs, restaurants and places of entertainment that the city center can offer. Don't forget shopping. On your doorstep will be your favorite boutique shops and major department stores.
For many people, the urban center is where their work is situated. If you are among them, imagine being able to walk or take a short train or bus ride to your work each day. No more time spent commuting from the suburbs, sitting in traffic jams and breathing in the fumes. No more being packed into a train or bus like a sardine, hoping that you reach your workplace on time after getting up early in the morning to catch public transport.

Also imagine the money that you can save on gasoline and on car expenses by living near your work. Unlike many suburban areas, the city center often offers unique architecture and distinctiveness in styles. If you want to live in an average house in the suburbs, a house that is similar in size and style to your neighbors', then go for it. But if you're looking for something different, like an apartment tower built by one of the city's leading architects and a view of other magnificent skyscrapers or stylish office blocks, then the city center is for you.

Cons of urban living
If you are someone that can't stand noise--the traffic, the people, the nightlife--then city living isn't the right choice. Your personal safety and health might also suffer in the city. City areas often have higher crime rates and pollution from all the traffic. If you have children, there are fewer opportunities in the city for them to run around outside and play than in the suburbs.

The busy, dangerous streets and the absence of gardens and yards lessen the chances for your kids to spend quality time outside with minimal supervision. Perhaps one of the biggest arguments against urban center living is the cost. If you are looking for a large family home, then you can get better value for your money in the suburbs. Also, you can buy a suburban home with amenities that are hard to find in city homes, such as a garage, yard or outdoor swimming pool.

Pros of suburban living
Suburban living is for you if you love peace and quiet, and you are looking to escape from your work and the stresses of city life. The suburbs usually offer more than urban areas: more room for your home, more greenery and more opportunities to develop friendships with neighbors. A suburban home will cost you less than one of comparable size in the city, and suburban homes are often larger and have more amenities. A larger home could also offer financial benefits, such as giving you room to develop a home-based business.

Cons of suburban living
For some people, the suburbs are simply too quiet and too boring. They are far away from all the action in the city: the theaters, bars, clubs, restaurants, galleries and shops. Each outing to one of these places is an excursion, taking time and effort. The suburbs also often require a long commute to work. The cost of transportation adds up, and the time spent traveling each day could be put to better use.

In some suburban areas, there are few public transportation options, so if you hate driving, cannot afford a car or don't relish the opportunity of car pooling, then you will find it hard to get to work each day. The choice of where to live is, of course, entirely up to you. Consider these pros and cons, and decide what your priorities are in determining which location you want to call "home."