How do you decide what city (town) to live in?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how one goes about choosing where to live.  Perhaps this is because I have been moving around a lot in the last few years, and I am preparing for another move in a few months.  Now that I’ve lived in a few different cities (Toronto, Ottawa, Barcelona, Nice, Cape Town) and have experienced different lifestyles, I’ve realised that some lifestyles and cities work better for me than others.  Although I always thought I would end up in the city where I grew up (Toronto), now I’m not so sure about that anymore.  How does one go about making the decision about where to live? I mean, other than the obvious factors such as family/friends and jobs, what other factors can help guide this decision? Should we just decide to live where life takes us? Or should this decision be a more intentional one?  Even if one decides to live “where life takes you”, one is still often faced with the choice of what neighbourhood/suburb or type of home to dwell in.  So, keeping this in mind, what factors can we use to make such a choice? Again, you can choose to go with obvious factors such as what you like and what fits within your budget, but what I’m trying to get at, is that I think the decision involves a little more than that..

In fact, more and more, I’m starting to believe that one’s core values should really play a (big) part in this decision.  The more I think and read about this question, the more I am drawn to the conclusion that where you live should reflect your values and priorities (as much as possible anyway).  I also note that my internet search revealed that Ottawa is the best city to live in (in Canada), and Halifax is the second best (at least as of 2008:! I guess that means we must be doing something right.  But I digress.

For me, my values, preferences and priorities are constantly evolving, but as of right now, here is my list:

  • Close to family and friends
  • Short commute
  • Proximity to culture/cultural activities (ie. coffee shops, downtown, film festivals, etc)
  • Some sort of proximity to nature (ie. not in the middle of a concrete jungle)
  • Ideally, in the middle of a socially conscious neighbourhood
  • Proximity to a good church
  • Community
  • Cultural diversity

Not every city or every neighbourhood is able to contribute equally to fulfilling my desire to cross off each item on the list above.  For instance, Ottawa is amazing for achieving the balance I never knew I longed for between nature and city life.  Toronto on the other hand cannot be topped for cultural diversity.  I wonder how Halifax will fare on my list..

I’m off for now – but I am sure I will have more to add on this topic as the months go by..

For further reading..

Posted on May 4, 2011, in Culture, Food for thought, Listography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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