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City Types

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If you could live in any city you wished, how big of a city would it be? Please elaborate in a post.   59 members have voted

  1. 1. If you could live in any city you wished, how big of a city would it be? Please elaborate in a post.

    • Metropolis
      18
    • Large Metropolitan City
      9
    • Medium Metropolitan City
      10
    • Small City
      4
    • Large Town
      3
    • Small Town
      2
    • Village
      2

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25 posts in this topic

When I think of my ideal city, I think of New York and Chicgao because I feel so at home there among the vast achievements of architecture. I'm curious, though, what other people think.

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I live in Chicago. The architecture and the variety of businesses downtown is amazing, however I like my area of the city much better. I live in one of Chicago's hispanic districts. I'm surrounded by first generation Americans and illegal aliens who have no choice but to work, and work hard. Mom and pop startup businesses abound here, and there are a couple day labor agencies that are always overflowing with workers and vans to pick them up. When you strike up a conversation on the street, you're more likely to hear about "my business," "my goals" and "my family" than you are to hear about what was on TV last night.

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I live in Chicago. The architecture and the variety of businesses downtown is amazing, however I like my area of the city much better. I live in one of Chicago's hispanic districts. I'm surrounded by first generation Americans and illegal aliens who have no choice but to work, and work hard. Mom and pop startup businesses abound here, and there are a couple day labor agencies that are always overflowing with workers and vans to pick them up. When you strike up a conversation on the street, you're more likely to hear about "my business," "my goals" and "my family" than you are to hear about what was on TV last night.

I love Chicago! It's my favorite out of all the cities I've been to and want to live there eventually. Standing on the observation deck of the Sears Tower and looking out upon the city was kind of like a religious experience for me.

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I've always lived in the country and I prefer that. I've lived on an acreage with fruit trees, and a sandy riverfront beach, which was in a small town. I've also lived in an acreage of forested area farther up the mountains away from any town, with a river view over a cliff. Living in the country allows complete privacy, and the use of a yard. We landscaped with ponds, built rockwork, and trails. I could ride my dirtbike or go fishing and swimming anytime the weather permitted.

There's never really been any crime out here in the country like there is in the city. If I wanted to go to the nearest town, it was only a 15 minute drive, and only 5 minutes to the local airport. Property is cheap in the country, and most often you have the choice of erecting your own house on undeveloped land rather than buying an already built one. It means building something exactly suited to your wishes, especially if you save $200,000, since property values are much lower.

I like city architecture, but the most important peice of architecture would be my own home. Living in a condo or apartment isn't like having your own building. Still, cities have large houses in the suburbs that are nice. Cities also have the benefit of being close to friends, and being walking distance from amenities.

People work hard in the country too! Everyone's dad is either a logger or millworker out here.

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i voted for medium metropolitan city...which I thought was the closest thing to Los Angeles. Its not as crowded as New York...unless you're driving on the freeway during rush hour. The weather is nice...beaches are great...there's a lot of diversity here. I wouldnt mind visiting New York or anything...but I'm too used to warm weather.

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There's a lot to like about Chicago from an architecture standpoint. Walking around, it's hard not to look up and just admire it all.

And there's a lot not to like in that being an older city, the streets are too narrow for the amount of traffic there and there is not nearly enough parking. Much of this is simply due to the age of the city, but also a lot is due to the Daily machine.

An example: in front of Buckingham fountain, there is stoplight on lake shore drive where six lanes of traffic must stop so that pedestrians can go to the marina... WHY didn't they build a pedestrian overpass instead of a stoplight which essentailly amounts to a billboard which says "F*** YOU, motorist." That and the fact that they let HORSE CARRIAGES block traffic to promote "tourism" just tells me that they don't think that the Motorist is a legitimate part of their city.

A more car-friendly city is Pheonix, being built more recently. Even downtown has six lanes on every street (almost). Plenty of parking, too.

But, yes, the architecture is GRAND.

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Voted Metropolis; the bigger the better. I live in a large city and I like the fact that I'm always able to locate a place which can provide me with whatever goods or services I require, regardless of how obscure they may be. For instance a few months ago I decided that I would like to take up a martial art, and living in a large city allowed me to make a proper choice since I knew I would be able to find someone that trained whatever I decided upon, even if it happened to be a lot less popular than karate/tae-kwon-do/whatever.

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I picked large city, for a perfect mix between availability/comfort and level of noise and dirt. New York City is very dirty, except for the famous areas like midtown and lower Manhattan which all cost a fortune to clean up every morning. Plus there's a lot of poor in a huge metropolis, so a large city is relatively safer.

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It seems to be the trend that most Objectivists like to live in the city, with only two of you saying you'd rather live in a town and no one saying they wanted to live in a village. This is interesting but kind of corresponds to what I thought it would be.

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This is interesting but kind of corresponds to what I thought it would be.

I would be cautious in your thoughts. Though I love the bigger cities, I also would love to have a house in a very small village (ie. Silverton, Colorado or Grandlake, Colorado).

All have their advantages, and really it is a preference. My dream would be a penthouse in Tokyo and a cabin in Grand Lake :nuke:.

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I have to say that I want to eventually spend most of my time in either New York or Chicago. With that said, I also want a large estate in the country to use for my leisure.

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I have to say that I want to eventually spend most of my time in either New York or Chicago. With that said, I also want a large estate in the country to use for my leisure.

That's kind of the general idea of what I would like to do, too. I certainly wouldn't want to live in the country all of the time but a country house would be nice.

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Wait, here you've got another country boy among you B) I love the city, and I really enjoy life in Philadelphia. Nonetheless, I hope to ultimately live in the country, in my own house, situated back in the woods at the end of a long driveway. I'm all for human achievement, and city architecture is a love of mine...but for me, nothing beats hanging in a hammock between two old oaks with your favorite girl, a glass of wine, and not another soul for half a mile in any direction (w00t)

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I voted for "small town." However, that is a plan rather than an experience. I have lived in Houston (45 years ago), New Orleans, San Francisco and the Peninsula cities of Redwood City, Palo Alto, and Mountainview, and -- for the last 30 years -- Portland, Oregon (population about 600K).

I have always lived without a car, so I wanted a place big enough to provide all my wants with easy access by walking, bicycling or occasional busing. Living in downtown Portland has been nearly ideal for that. Rents are about 20 percent higher downtown than outside, but my transportation costs are just about zero, so the two balance out.

Now, at age 60, I am seriously considering moving to Centralia, a town of 15K in Washington State. Socially, it is aptly named in that it will be in the middle of my face-to-face, Objectivist and other networks.

Since it has a downtown and its core is only a mile or so square, I should have no trouble getting around to every place I expect to go: grocery store, library, hospital, computer repair shop, bicycle shop, and even a Goodwill. I routinely walk 3 to 6 miles a day, so distance is no problem. Further, with sales through the internet, I should be able to purchase anything except some services and have the products delivered if I can't find them locally. One of the advantages of being 60, though, is knowing my wants very well and simultaneously simplifying the list as time goes by.

The main advantage for me is combining a slower pace -- and I hope fewer bums on the streets and less stranger-to-stranger crime -- with still living "downtown," though on a very small scale.

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I would be cautious in your thoughts.  Though I love the bigger cities, I also would love to have a house in a very small village (ie. Silverton, Colorado or Grandlake, Colorado).

Telluride, CO is most beautiful small town I've seen in the U.S. (the photo in the link is actually not even that great). If you haven't been there, go! It would actually make an excellent Galt's Gulch... it's remote enough. There's even ore in the adjacent mountains. Since there is a lot of money flowing in from tourism year-round, there is a fair amount of commerce/culture for a small town.

I would have voted for "Medium Metropolitan City" but the site wouldn't let me. Must be because I viewed results before voting. Some sort of copy protection? :worry:

Large cities are great to visit. I have lived in Brooklyn, but eventually I disliked the anonymity of the large city. Also, to me, an apartment in a big beehive of other apartments, or in a row with other row houses is not a home. You gotta have a yard, and trees, and be able to enjoy the outdoors.

I may yet live in Chicago since my brother lives there. Great city, plus you can fly anywhere easily.

However, ultimately, I may be destined to live in Colorado, which probably means Denver area ("Medium Metropolitan City"), or Boulder. I love the mountains, skiing, climbing, etc. Plus half my family will soon live there, and we have fun. Just need to shift my career out there.

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I voted "metropolis" because right now I'd have a hard time giving up the people, restaurants, hospitals, and services in the city.

But it seems that today the bigger a city is, the deeper it is in "blue" America.

The one I live in -- San Francisco -- is a progress-sieve stronghold. The battle in the last mayoral election was between the green and the blue. And the blue barely won.

Every six months there is an election with 10 to 15 city propositions on the ballot.

SF has its own social service departments, supported by high city taxes. It has rent control, and extreme restrictions on development. It has its own gun control laws. Every election seems to feature one or two propositions giving more money to the police and fire departments. There always seems to be at least one about "affordable housing" or "rent control". And one that gives more power to the mayor, then another prop that shifts power from the mayor to the city council. [Note that the city council is the group that puts most props on the ballot, but they rarely pass when the council tries to directly give power to itself.] The word "fair" often appears in props -- and invariably signals something unfair.

But that's just the city government. On the personal level, this city is at the core of many grass-roots movements. Many people decorate their cars and some guerillas vandalize property with anti-American and propagandistic slogans. The Michael Moore-ization of the left is evident. ("Eat the rich." "No blood for oil." "Corporate greed." "Bush lies who dies?" "che lives" etc.)

So that aspect of the environment leaves a lot to be desired.

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I voted "metropolis" because right now I'd have a hard time giving up the people, restaurants, hospitals, and services in the city. 

Out of curiosity, which restaurants, hospitals, and services are available in the city but are not available in the larger suburbs? (I mean, suburbs with ~100,000 or more population) I live in the Chicago suburbs and the only things that are in the city but not here are museums and skyscrapers. There is not a single restaurant, retail store, or anything of that nature that is missing.

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I do think there is a certain lifestyle difference between a sprawled city like LA or Phoenix, and a built-up city like Chicago, San Fran, or New York. A friend of mine whose wife is from New York told me that one big difference is the level of service you can expect in a metropolis-type city.

He told a story once about how he and his wife were back visiting NY, and she saw a dress she wanted in a store. She needed to have it adjusted, and asked if she could pick it up later so she could wear it to dinner. The clerk asked them what hotel they were staying at and told them she would have it adjusted and delivered to the hotel room at no charge. They continued their shopping and later when the returned to the hotel the dress was in the room waiting for them.

Now in Phoenix that would rarely happen. Phoenix is a do-it-yourself city. Its something I like about Phoenix because it keeps cost of living inexpensive, but it probably would drive a long-term New Yorker crazy. Since I am only a computer support tech, and not a programmer, I need to do a lot of things myself to save money. People here do complex home repairs themselves, know the quickest driving routes, drive trucks and SUV's to carry more stuff, and where you can buy anything you want for any project or need. Although I understand Phoenix now has a good luxury home market, the middle-class seem to be the primary market here. Other than just transportation, there are a whole range of services that are not as built-up as in a metropolis.

Interestingly, a lot of the leaders of the 'red-state' mentality in Phoenix are refugees from blue-state places like LA, Chicago, Detroit, etc. They are quite happy that we are not like the places they came from. I personally am happy that much of the developing in Phoenix is freer from government that in many other cities. (We do have quite a bit of culture here though, check out Phoenix Magazine sometime).

It is unfortunate that metropolis cities are so dominated by the left, because they do seem to have some qualities that continue to make people want to live there. It seems like a hard thing to kill a metropolis city, not for lack of trying. I wonder sometimes if things don't turn around that more New Yorkers might give up on the governmental mess they have made and migrate to smaller cities.

Out of curiosity, which restaurants, hospitals, and services are available in the city but are not available in the larger suburbs? (I mean, suburbs with ~100,000 or more population) I live in the Chicago suburbs and the only things that are in the city but not here are museums and skyscrapers. There is not a single restaurant, retail store, or anything of that nature that is missing.

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Out of curiosity, which restaurants, hospitals, and services are available in the city but are not available in the larger suburbs? (I mean, suburbs with ~100,000 or more population) I live in the Chicago suburbs and the only things that are in the city but not here are museums and skyscrapers. There is not a single restaurant, retail store, or anything of that nature that is missing.

The restaurants are becoming less of a draw now that I am a father. But proximity to the UCSF hospital has become more important, since my son needed open heart surgery two months after birth. It's nice being less than 10 minutes away. (The Stanford hospital would have been fine too; I'm glad we didn't have to fly to Children's hospital in Pittsburgh!)

I left public transportation off my list, but I think it is one thing that differentiates the metropolis from the suburb. But parking tends to be so much better in the burbs that the balance might swing in that direction.

Services: dry cleaning, dog walking, maid/housecleaning service, and nannies may well be available in the burbs. They're all easily available here too, and there are some economies of scale. It is nice not having a lawn to mow, so no need for yard service. :lol:

When it comes to restaurants... I'm afraid I'm going to sound like a snob. But here goes. :D I have been to the burbs. No offense, but I have sworn off Chinese restaurants outside of the cities. Same goes for sushi (and there I need coastal big cities.) Pizza is ok just about anywhere (except in New York or Chicago where their distinctive styles are excellent). Mexican food can be great just about anywhere -- but in SF I like La Taqueria for tacos, Taqueria La Cumbre for anything with barbeque chicken (especially burritos), Cancun for tortas, and El Faro/Farolito for shredded pork burrito (although I usually get the nachos or taco salad for lunch these days). El Toro is good for burritos, but their specialty is seafood and I tend to avoid Mexican seafood. Indian food can be hit or miss just about anywhere, but in SF Indian Oven shines. Thai food is one of SF's specialties. I haven't mentioned most of my favorite restaurants; most don't fall into a category. But in my opinion, The Slanted Door is the best in town.

(This may be more snobbery, but I think the desserts are better here too.)

One of the cool things about working downtown is that at lunchtime there are 20+ restaurants within a block, and hundreds within a short walk.

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Josh,

Don't worry about being a snob; we're valuers here! :D

I do notice that good chinese is hard to find, but that could be simply a lack of trying on my part. I am near the whole Oak Brook/Downers grove "restaurant row." There are literally hundreds of restaurants within 2 miles of my residence and even more just down the road. I can claim to be adjacent to a pizza place (Jack Straws) that is BETTER than any in the city of Chicago, and I know how high of a claim THAT is. There is a quite excellant Mexican place called Las Palmas that is right down the street from me (when I can afford it, anyway!). I do know that the El Famous Burrito on Clark street has chips and salsa the likes of which simply cannot be found in the 'burbs. Other then that, though, it's all available to me.

Maybe I live in some kind of "exception to the rule" as far as suburbs go.

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I couldn't vote because my choice ("Suburb of a good-sized city") was not listed. I like living in the suburbs and having city options within commuting distance.

Me too. That's why I voted for "Large Town."

We happen to love living in Thousand Oaks, CA which has a population of over 100K but a neighborly town atmosphere. It's twenty minutes from Los Angeles and has wonderful Southern California weather but, unlike LA, it is always in the Top Five of the FBI's list of America's Safest Cities.

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Looks like I'm 11 years too late on this one but since it has recently been bumped thought I'd add my perspective from Europe. 

I live in London, which is immense for the diversity, opportunity and geographic location. If you want to get into 1940s Czech films that have been dubbed into Cantonese you can probably find a society of 50 people that want to do it with you. Everyday, literally 50 plane loads of Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese, Italians, Polish etc escape their dead economies looking for -and finding-  work in London. There is a never-ending array of food, drink, music, theatre, museums etc. Not to mention the intellectual life where places like the Adam Smith Institute or the Institute for Economic Affairs are forever putting on speeches and discussions. Finally, you are 2 hours from Paris, Rome, Berlin etc for weekends. 

On the flip side, all the key services (roads, schools, housing, airports, health care) are all either monopolised by the government or regulated to hell and back by the government. Pretty much all of them are, as a result, in various states of awfulness. Add this together with a very old city with very small roads and day-today reality is a little painful. It's the trade-off. 

I've spent quite a bit of time in Tokyo over the years, which has quite a bit less diversity but is MUCH better organised. 

So my long answer to the short question is: would prefer to live in a London-style megalopolis IF it could be better organised.

Since such places don't exist: I'm increasingly attracted to mid-sized European cities like Barcelona. There is almost zero decent Asian food and job prospects are largely horrific but if you can find your niche, quality of life is high.

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Currently I live in the capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan. For us it's a big deal, in the largest city in the island and as I said before, the capital. If I were to choose where to live I would be between medium metropolitan city and a metropolis. I basically lived in a large metropolitan city my entire life and now i'm accustomed to it. If I were to choose where I'd say New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, and London. I chose these cities because i'm attracted to them not because they are recognized throughout any countries. Of course, San Juan is just a small town compared to these cities but even though it's small, the way the people act and how the city runs is just like any other in the world.

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