OP, I'm going to second what Green Magick said and recommend a standard poodle.
Ours is almost 2 years old now, back before we got her, I think I could have written your post!
We too, live in the city. in a small house with a standard city sized garden.
I can't say I loved the puppy stage but it was no worse than normal and she is turning into a fabulous dog:)
She is very smart and very active but we keep her busy with lots of walks, hikes, trips to the park (either chasing a ball or playing with other dogs), puzzle bowls and balls for feeding, appropriate chew toys yada yada yada!
She is definitely not groomed in the typical frou frou poodle style. Her coat is medium length, the same all over. No pom poms!!!
My 3 kids love her, and I have absolutely no worries about her responses to them.