Moving Back to the City

by Kelly

There has long existed a myth in our American culture that suburban living is better than city living, especially if you have kids. The truth, though, is that there can be many benefits to both, and some families will benefit more from a city life style than they ever would from living in the suburbs. City life can provide more independence, more social connections, and greater cultural integration than suburban living.

So, if you are considering moving from the suburbs to the cities, don’t let the myth of better suburban living discourage you! Here’s a look at a few reasons and ways life in the city can be better than suburban life:

Fewer Cars, More Independence

Our culture has a tendency to equate driving and cars with independence. However, this isn’t always the case. When you live in the suburbs, it’s not necessarily that you can get everywhere by car, but that you have to. Walking places is rarely an option since suburbs are designed to be isolated from metropolitan areas. Even a grocery store, theater, or fast-food joint is often too far away for a casual stroll when living in the suburbs.

This will all change when you move back to the city. Yes, you will have to get used to driving your car less, but the trade-off is that between walking, biking, and public transportation, you will rarely find yourself needing to drive if you don’t want to. This means paying less for car maintenance and gas, and if you give up your car entirely, no more car payments or insurance payments! It will also be easier for children as they grow up to have greater independence as you will not need to drive them to every soccer practice and social event they want to attend.

More Social Connections

In addition to the fewer car-related bills, another advantage of living in an area where you don’t need to drive is the greater social connections. Some people think suburban life is more connected, but in reality you usually only get to know the people on your block, and they’re not guaranteed to be to your liking.

Cities are vastly different though. When you walk everywhere, take public transportation, and spend more time outside of your house and your immediate social sphere, you are naturally going to have more opportunities to meet people. Whether you start chatting with other parents while your kids are playing in the park instead of a back yard, or overhear a conversation on the subway about your favorite book that you can’t help but join in on, city life can provide far more opportunities for social connection than suburban life.

Greater Cultural Integration

When you live in a place where you walk everywhere and meet more people, you will naturally have greater exposure to people from different backgrounds. This will not only provide opportunities for better social connections, but will also expose you and your kids to a wide range of ways people look, dress, talk, and eat as well as their different cultural values.

In addition to the people you meet on the street, in the stores, or on public transportation, cities often provide greater access to museums, cultural centers, ethnic film festivals, food trucks with different delicacies from other cultures, and art museums that display multiple ways of seeing life through the varied perspectives of the people around you. Just going through daily life will expose you to more people of varying cultures, backgrounds, and walks of life than you will ever see in the suburbs.