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#1 of 26 Old 03-16-2008, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone regret buying a house in a suburb? Why or why not? TIA.
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#2 of 26 Old 03-16-2008, 07:16 PM
 
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As opposed to the city or the country?

I hate living in the city, but I would hate a suburb even more.

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#3 of 26 Old 03-16-2008, 09:55 PM
 
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Not so much the actual sub-urb but i HATED our years of living with a HOA, home owners association. Not to mention all the cookie cutter houses. The HOA lived to fine people, for example if your trash can was out too long after pick up they would bill you a $25 fine, if they thought your trees needed trimming another $25 fine... I have vowed NEVER to live anywhere with a HOA again.
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#4 of 26 Old 03-17-2008, 09:37 AM
 
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Not so much the actual sub-urb but i HATED our years of living with a HOA, home owners association. Not to mention all the cookie cutter houses. The HOA lived to fine people, for example if your trash can was out too long after pick up they would bill you a $25 fine, if they thought your trees needed trimming another $25 fine... I have vowed NEVER to live anywhere with a HOA again.
I agree that it is not so much city vs suborn vs rural but the atmosphere.

I live in a suburb, but it is really a small town. I can walk into the town center and get a coffee, see a movie, grab lunch etc. - lots of little independent shops and restaurants. There is also a great sense of community in my neighborhood as well as the entire town. There are areas in my town that are more removed from the center and full of Mc Masions that I would be really unhappy in - partly because I like to be centrally located and want my kids to be able to go out on their own without needing a ride, and partly because I cold never live with restrictions placed on me in my own home - even unspoken ones - we don't have HOAs around here - only condos have those sort of rules. I like that I can hand out my laundry without even a funny look from the neighbors.

It does depend on what your preference is. You might not be happy in a suburb if you really like country living or the edginess of the city. I like that I have the best of each option, without going to extremes.
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#5 of 26 Old 03-17-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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I also lived for a period in a townhome with a Home Owner's Assn--never again! Maybe some of these organizations are perfectly sane, but mine had officers who loved to fine people, etc. Drunk with power? We never got fined, but a neighbor (who was an officer on the association board) used to gossip about other neighbors and how "We're going to put a lien on his house" if he doesn't cooperate, etc. Ugh. Couldn't wait to get outta there.

These days I live in a suburb that is a small town. Very walkable, with shops, restaurants, etc. I think it's a great place to live. There is a lot of variety in terms of suburbs. I don't think I'd like to live in one where I had to drive a lot, but I have friends who don't mind at all.
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#6 of 26 Old 03-17-2008, 06:27 PM
 
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Yes! I regret it! Here goes...

(Keep in mind that it's based on my area and experience).

1. It's biker and pedestrian-unfriendly. Public transport doesn't come out this far, and I spend loads of time and gas running what should be the simplest errands.

2. Unless I travel even greater distances to local businesses, my only choices are Marts and "Ko's" and other box stores.

3. Listen to PP. HOAs aren't worth your time or dues. Cities have started requiring them for new construction. HOAs have become a form of double-taxation for amenities that used to be public, e.g. parks and common-area trees. The restrictions can be anti-green (e.g. no clotheslines or vegetable gardens) and anti-civil liberties (e.g. no signs in your yard, not even for McCain or Obama). There's no sense of community because my neighbors are at each others' throats over violations of CCRs (Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions).

Alas, until the housing market gets out of this funk, I'll have to stick it out here for awhile. :

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#7 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 02:12 AM
 
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I like living in suburbia, I've finally come to realize. Here's why. I like to be around some nature. There is some nature is suburbia. Especially where I live. There are many neighborhoods, yet there are still 30 acres of undeveloped land sitting for sale near me. There are fields and creeks and such. Yes, the houses are the most obvious things, but there are natural areas and you don't have to look too far to see them. I *also*, however, like being close to neighbors. I like my kids to have friends down the street that they can go and play with. I like it that they can play on the street with "slow down - kids" signs out and that it's actually safe because the only people who go down the street are people who live here and they do slow down. Would I like better mass transit? Yes, but I can avoid using the car for a lot of things. There's a grocery store about 1.5 miles away. I walk that a lot with the kids in a stroller.

Our area is actually fairly biking-friendly, too. There are lots of bikers, so people are used to it, and almost all the streets are 4 lane, so it's not a big hassle to be behind a biker, you have a lane to pass them in.

I mostly shop used and thrift and there is a kids resale (locally owned) 2.5 miles away. The nearest thrift is about 5 or 6 miles away, but I don't clothes shop often, so that's not such a big deal.

I do agree, HOAs are a pain. The ones I've been a part of aren't that bad, though. We definitely still have a sense of community, maybe even more of one because occassionally we have block parties sponsored by the HOA and occassionally have to fight something hair-brained from the HOA together. I hang a clothesline and I have a vegetable garden.

There are trade-offs for anywhere you live, though, I've found. I think I've finally accepted though that the set of benefits/drawbacks that fits my family me best is found in suburbia. I'm glad, it makes me feel more at peace being here . If that makes me boring, oh well.
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#8 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 02:28 AM
 
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we realized this weekend after a mini-vacation involving the "big city" that we are pretty happy here in the suburbs too. pretty much for the same reasons as the post directly above.

never dealt with an hoa but my boss has a few bad stories about his and it took for freaking ever for the one my sister is part of to get a road paved....
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#9 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 10:06 AM
 
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I think we have a rare jewel of a HOA. Our fees pay to keep up the park and the green areas, replaced all of the neighborhood trees (over 100) that were affected by the ash bore virus, pays for a security patrol on Halloween, an egg hunt on Easter, and an annual neighborhood picnic complete with face painting and live music I've never heard of anyone getting fined for anything. The "worst" I've seen is that they occasionally send reminders to the neighborhood as a whole about blocking sidewalks with their vehicles.

I don't hate suburbia but I don't really like it either. We have two great parks, a small nature trail, and a kid-friendly bike trail nearby which are all pluses. But, I can't walk anywhere else and my commute stinks (my biggest complaint by far).
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#10 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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Best Feeling, I feel you on the commute thing. I would live in any environment, city, country, suburbia, to avoid DH having a long commute. That's another thing we've discovered about ourselves. The commute is what affects us *the most*. Luckily, DH works from home. Before he was working from home, though, he worked more in the city, so we lived in a smaller apartment in more of a city atmosphere. It was just when he got the all-clear to work from home, we were like, ok, now what? Unlimited choices for where to live threw us for a loop a little. We're happily settled in a suburban house near family, now, though
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#11 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 03:40 PM
 
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I'd like to live someplace where more things are within walking distance. Plenty of places fit that description in both the city and suburbs. I feel like more kids are allowed to play outside in the suburbs which can be nice. I like there being a little more space and greenery but I want to be close enough to the city to have some public transportation options.

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#12 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 04:43 PM
 
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I think we have a rare jewel of a HOA. Our fees pay to keep up the park and the green areas, replaced all of the neighborhood trees (over 100) that were affected by the ash bore virus, pays for a security patrol on Halloween, an egg hunt on Easter, and an annual neighborhood picnic complete with face painting and live music I've never heard of anyone getting fined for anything. The "worst" I've seen is that they occasionally send reminders to the neighborhood as a whole about blocking sidewalks with their vehicles.
I wanted to second this bit about HOAs. We specifically picked a neighborhood with a very active HOA. HOAs keep the neighborhood nice and property values up. This neighborhood's been here for 40 years and looks gorgeous still - we know when we sell our property values will still be good. Yes, some obnoxious old ladies drive around all day trying to find things to send you notices about, but it's a small price to pay (for us) for a beautiful community. They also plan holiday events and keep up our pools and parks.

I love the suburbs , but I can see how it might not be the place for someone who wants stuff within walking distance.

I'm Kellie :, married to Chris , and mom to one baby girl (7/12/09).
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#13 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 05:50 PM
 
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depends on the suburb.

I would rather live in an urban setting.

but if I must live in a suburb absolutely no HOA and no covenances.

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#14 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 07:37 PM
 
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I think we have a rare jewel of a HOA. Our fees pay to keep up the park and the green areas, replaced all of the neighborhood trees (over 100) that were affected by the ash bore virus, pays for a security patrol on Halloween, an egg hunt on Easter, and an annual neighborhood picnic complete with face painting and live music I've never heard of anyone getting fined for anything. The "worst" I've seen is that they occasionally send reminders to the neighborhood as a whole about blocking sidewalks with their vehicles.
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They also plan holiday events and keep up our pools and parks.
I don't mean to be OT but I have no experience with HOAs or even know people who did, so I am confused about keeping up the parks, and doing holiday stuff. Do you not have to pay property taxes then? Where I live the town parks department takes care of all of the playgrounds, parks, public green spaces, as well as the town pool and other facilities. They are good too, I called once about a broken swing at my favorite playground and they had it fixed that day. They provide benches and streetlights for downtown to make the town look prettier. We also have things like concerts, parades, fairs - lots and lots of stuff for the kids - almost all of it is free. If you block the sidewalk or some such thing the police will ticket you.

Just curious.

It is interesting to see all the different types of suburbs. Mine is sort of like the town from Leave it to Beaver (except our cool independent movie theater serves beer and wine along with the popcorn).
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#15 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 07:48 PM
 
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HOAs keep up private pools and parks for the neighborhood only. Green areas for the neighborhood only, etc.
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#16 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 08:39 PM
 
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I think we have a rare jewel of a HOA. Our fees pay to keep up the park and the green areas, replaced all of the neighborhood trees (over 100) that were affected by the ash bore virus, pays for a security patrol on Halloween, an egg hunt on Easter, and an annual neighborhood picnic complete with face painting and live music I've never heard of anyone getting fined for anything. The "worst" I've seen is that they occasionally send reminders to the neighborhood as a whole about blocking sidewalks with their vehicles.

I don't hate suburbia but I don't really like it either. We have two great parks, a small nature trail, and a kid-friendly bike trail nearby which are all pluses. But, I can't walk anywhere else and my commute stinks (my biggest complaint by far).
That's us too. Sure I have fantasies about living on acerage and all, but I actually did live in the country and found I actually spent all my time driving to get to civilization. I love where we live. It has a small town feel (it is a small town) but it's so close to anything I could need or want to do. Then in the evening I can come home to our great neighborhood. Sure there's things I'd change...such as all the houses are very cookie cutter and evenly spaced in a weird stepford wife kind of way, but overall it's really a great place to live.

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#17 of 26 Old 03-18-2008, 09:04 PM
 
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I don't mean to be OT but I have no experience with HOAs or even know people who did, so I am confused about keeping up the parks, and doing holiday stuff. Do you not have to pay property taxes then? Where I live the town parks department takes care of all of the playgrounds, parks, public green spaces, as well as the town pool and other facilities. They are good too, I called once about a broken swing at my favorite playground and they had it fixed that day. They provide benches and streetlights for downtown to make the town look prettier. We also have things like concerts, parades, fairs - lots and lots of stuff for the kids - almost all of it is free. If you block the sidewalk or some such thing the police will ticket you.

Just curious.

It is interesting to see all the different types of suburbs. Mine is sort of like the town from Leave it to Beaver (except our cool independent movie theater serves beer and wine along with the popcorn).
Property taxes here mostly go to maintain the schools. Yes, they also maintain city parks and city pools. But almost every subdivision here has it's own park or two and pool or two. These are private (only people who live in your neighborhood can use) and not city-maintained. Also, yes, in a city this large there are TONS of activities and festivals but they're downtown and crowded and just a PITA to go to (IMO). Neighborhoods will do smaller things like a 4th of July parade that the kids can dress red white and blue for and ride their bikes in and an easter egg hunt for neighborhood kids.

I'm Kellie :, married to Chris , and mom to one baby girl (7/12/09).
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#18 of 26 Old 03-19-2008, 07:29 AM
 
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Property taxes here mostly go to maintain the schools. Yes, they also maintain city parks and city pools. But almost every subdivision here has it's own park or two and pool or two. These are private (only people who live in your neighborhood can use) and not city-maintained. Also, yes, in a city this large there are TONS of activities and festivals but they're downtown and crowded and just a PITA to go to (IMO). Neighborhoods will do smaller things like a 4th of July parade that the kids can dress red white and blue for and ride their bikes in and an easter egg hunt for neighborhood kids.
Hm interesting concept. I have a neighborhood park that is on the corner by my house, but people come from all over to use it. Not sure I could tell who lives in my specific neighborhood, or how we would ever be able to keep out people who didn't. Do they hire people to check IDs? I certainly understand going to festivals and such when it is a PITA. We wouldn't go if we had to drive. My kids could walk downtown from here by the time they were 3!

It is so interesting to see what must be regional differences! We really don't have subdivisions here at all. My town was founded in the 1600s and houses were added gradually over the years. I think that by the time subdivisions were invented, there wasn't any space on which to build more than a couple of houses.
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#19 of 26 Old 03-19-2008, 11:45 AM
 
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Hm interesting concept. I have a neighborhood park that is on the corner by my house, but people come from all over to use it. Not sure I could tell who lives in my specific neighborhood, or how we would ever be able to keep out people who didn't. Do they hire people to check IDs? I certainly understand going to festivals and such when it is a PITA. We wouldn't go if we had to drive. My kids could walk downtown from here by the time they were 3!

It is so interesting to see what must be regional differences! We really don't have subdivisions here at all. My town was founded in the 1600s and houses were added gradually over the years. I think that by the time subdivisions were invented, there wasn't any space on which to build more than a couple of houses.
Well, people don't usually come to ours because everyone has their own. However, if you suspected/knew someone wasn't from your neighborhood you could have them removed. The parks are kind of like what you'd find at an elementry school for recess. The big parks with soccer fields and acerage are generally city parks. For the pools, you get a pool tag or ID based on whether or not you are paid up on your HOA dues and they check them at the gate. Same with neighborhood tennis courts.

Here they started building "subdivisions" in some form or another in about the 1900s, with modern subdivisions coming in in about the 60s maybe? In Texas there's no shortage of land so we just keep building out and out.

One big difference I've noticed is that my friends in northern states rarely have neighborhood pools and swimteams. Almost every single neighborhood in Houston has its own pool, and most subdivisions have a swim team that competes against the other area teams from May to July.

I'm Kellie :, married to Chris , and mom to one baby girl (7/12/09).
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#20 of 26 Old 03-19-2008, 12:23 PM
 
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Well, people don't usually come to ours because everyone has their own. However, if you suspected/knew someone wasn't from your neighborhood you could have them removed. The parks are kind of like what you'd find at an elementry school for recess. The big parks with soccer fields and acerage are generally city parks. For the pools, you get a pool tag or ID based on whether or not you are paid up on your HOA dues and they check them at the gate. Same with neighborhood tennis courts.

Here they started building "subdivisions" in some form or another in about the 1900s, with modern subdivisions coming in in about the 60s maybe? In Texas there's no shortage of land so we just keep building out and out.

One big difference I've noticed is that my friends in northern states rarely have neighborhood pools and swimteams. Almost every single neighborhood in Houston has its own pool, and most subdivisions have a swim team that competes against the other area teams from May to July.
Ah gotcha! Thanks, this is good to know if we ever decide to leave the northeast! We just don't have that sort of land here. Our swim team competes against the teams from the neighboring towns which is probably similar in distance between your neighborhoods .

OK now that I understand I'll let this thread get back on topic!
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#21 of 26 Old 03-19-2008, 12:50 PM
 
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Here in Dallas the neighborhood parks are just another layer of parks in the mix, really. My town has over 30 parks it maintains, so it really doesn't make a difference whether you have one in the neighborhood. The older Dallas neighborhoods don't have HOAs or neighborhood parks. Really, the justification for HOAs here is to keep the property values up by making sure people keep things up with their property. Most neighborhood pools are small here, and some are rarely use, so many people have pools of their own. It's really hard to find a neighborhood without an HOA, though, if you live in a newish neighborhood, so it's hard to get around depending on where you want to live.

In Austin (we've lived there, too), there are a *ton* of public parks and a good percentage of them have pools with free admission, a couple are even heated year round. It's great there, I really loved it, there are huge tracts of land devoted to greenbelts right in the middle of the city. My parents and DH's mom are very settled here in the Dallas area, though, so that's where we'll be at least until the kids are old enough to travel 3 1/2 hours well.
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#22 of 26 Old 03-20-2008, 03:49 AM
 
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We live in a suburb of a major metropolitan city; our city itself also has a more urban area (a busy downtown area with apartments/condos over storefronts, ability to walk to work/shop/eat, and much more "action" than where we are) and then where we live, which is much more suburban, if that makes sense. It too reminds me of a "Leave it to Beaver" type city rather than all the new developments that are walled in/HOA governed/cookie-cutted. Even though our neighborhood only has 4-5 basic floor plans, each house is unique. We aren't told what color we can paint our house, or what kinds of fencing we are allowed, or how short our lawn must be kept. (Ok, that last example was completely made-up, but I'm sure there's an HOA out there somewhere that keeps tabs on lawn length. )

I love where we live. (I also grew up here and am a bit biased.) Our neighborhoods were established in the early 50's. Most have no CCR's or an HOA (my mom's neighborhood does, but it's also more "upscale" than ours and keeps a tight reign on making sure everyone keeps their houses looking pristine ... we would *so* not fit in there! ).

Our city's park department maintains all parks, pools, and waterfront (beaches). Actually, our park department was voted the best in the nation just a year or so ago ... it is outstanding. I can walk to our local health food store, the library, and the park, and back home again. We have a very large regional park near us, plus a handful of smaller city parks within a couple miles in any direction. Though our lots are a bit smaller than dh and I would like, we aren't completely on top of our neighbors as the new developments in the next county over. My only complaint would be that our "side of town" isn't as diverse as I would like it to be, but it has definitely become more so than when I was young, and I believe will be even more as my boys age.

I agree with pibblestiltskin@ma in that it is interesting seeing everyone's different types of "suburbia" because when I think of it, I picture our neighborhood rather than the truly "cookie cutter", wall-in, new developments popping up all over, south of here. To me, that is so not something I'd ever want to live in. But, if where I live is suburbia, then I love it! I guess ultimately, it depends on what you mean when you say "the suburbs" ...

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#23 of 26 Old 03-21-2008, 03:31 AM
 
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We live in a suburb of a major metropolitan city; our city itself also has a more urban area (a busy downtown area with apartments/condos over storefronts, ability to walk to work/shop/eat, and much more "action" than where we are) and then where we live, which is much more suburban, if that makes sense. It too reminds me of a "Leave it to Beaver" type city rather than all the new developments that are walled in/HOA governed/cookie-cutted. Even though our neighborhood only has 4-5 basic floor plans, each house is unique. We aren't told what color we can paint our house, or what kinds of fencing we are allowed, or how short our lawn must be kept. (Ok, that last example was completely made-up, but I'm sure there's an HOA out there somewhere that keeps tabs on lawn length. )

I love where we live. (I also grew up here and am a bit biased.) Our neighborhoods were established in the early 50's. Most have no CCR's or an HOA (my mom's neighborhood does, but it's also more "upscale" than ours and keeps a tight reign on making sure everyone keeps their houses looking pristine ... we would *so* not fit in there! ).

Our city's park department maintains all parks, pools, and waterfront (beaches). Actually, our park department was voted the best in the nation just a year or so ago ... it is outstanding. I can walk to our local health food store, the library, and the park, and back home again. We have a very large regional park near us, plus a handful of smaller city parks within a couple miles in any direction. Though our lots are a bit smaller than dh and I would like, we aren't completely on top of our neighbors as the new developments in the next county over. My only complaint would be that our "side of town" isn't as diverse as I would like it to be, but it has definitely become more so than when I was young, and I believe will be even more as my boys age.

I agree with pibblestiltskin@ma in that it is interesting seeing everyone's different types of "suburbia" because when I think of it, I picture our neighborhood rather than the truly "cookie cutter", wall-in, new developments popping up all over, south of here. To me, that is so not something I'd ever want to live in. But, if where I live is suburbia, then I love it! I guess ultimately, it depends on what you mean when you say "the suburbs" ...
wher you live sounds so cool. where is it?

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#24 of 26 Old 03-21-2008, 03:55 PM
 
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I hate it because it's dead, there is no sense of community here. I live less than 5 minutes from a supermarket but I can't walk to do my shopping because there are no sidewalks and heavy traffic on the main roads outside of the subdivision.

I hate it because there is no life, I come from a poor urban background that was very multicultural, but at least we had a shared sense of culture and community. I don't get that out here, neighbors hardly interact and when we do we have little in common. It's also ugly, everything so planned out and uniform. All the houses and the lawns look the same. Home owner's associations are a work of satan.
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#25 of 26 Old 03-21-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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I LOVE our suburb -- and I know that somewhere, my 16 year old goth self is weeping to hear me say that. But still... we live 5 blocks from a small 'downtown' of what used to be a small down that has been subsumed into the metro area. That means we're 5 blocks or less from the library, the police station/city hall, a post office, an ice cream parlor, several small shops, two diners, a coffee shop, a few taverns and some more garn good resturants. All we need is a market, and we'd pretty much never have to leave!

We have sidewalks, a choice of 4 parks within toddler walking distance, and an aquatic center a short stroller ride away. We have a pond to walk around and feed ducks at, and a bandshell with live music. Plus, we have no HOA or HOA fees at all. Our neighborhood is a mix of old houses from before the town was merged, some 1960's era construction and a few newer houses. It's quiet and people look out for one another, which is way more than I can say for our former home in the city.

Spending all of my money and time on this wild, wild life.
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#26 of 26 Old 03-22-2008, 10:47 AM
 
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I really like our suburb. It's an older suburb with sidewalks, a main street, a sense of community. There are lots of kids here. There are nice parks. We lived in NYC for years and there just wasn't any way we could stay there--too expensive, not enough space. And I just got tired of the dirt, the smells, the pushiness, the exhausting pace of life. We took the train into NYC yesterday with our almost-3-year-old. We were on a crowded subway train, and dh was carrying ds, and a seat opened up and he tried to sit down. Immediately, a woman dove in front of him and took the seat, and he said, "oh, come on!" and she got really nasty and said, "you're not from around here, are you?" and we just had to laugh. I thought to myself, thank goodness we don't live here anymore, if this is the kind of rudeness you have to put up with. I feel like there's just a little more respect out here in the 'burbs.

lady.gif mama to H. 4/05 and A. 9/08 and baby C. 10/11

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