Thursday, December 10, 2009

What Makes a Livable City?

So the other day I was reading a column at SF Gate titled “Big city blues . . . Could a more affordable life, away from the Bay Area, actually be better?” The author Rob Baedeker ponders in a break up letter why it would be good to leave and he interviews two people that have moved from urban life to the smaller communities of Bend, Or and Madison, WI. (Link to column)

Much of what Baedeker writes about is affordability and the cost of living in the Bay Area. In Alameda, where the median home price was $520,000 last month this is a question I am sure many of us has asked. It is not cheap to reside in our Island paradise, and with the looks of the State and Local budget it appears there will be no relief in the future.

But what are the options? I have lived in the Bay Area since 1976 and Alameda since 1977, and I could not image living anywhere else. There is so much to do and be a part of and trading this life for another community would be hard to do.

A little later in the same day, I came across Yahoo! Real Estate’s
Best Bang-For-The-Buck Cities. The Forbes list consisted of (Complete List):

1. Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA Metro Area
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metro Area
3. Jackson, MS Metro Area
4. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metro Area
5. Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Metro Area
6. Wichita, KS Metro Area
7. McAllen- Edinburg-Mission, TX Metro Area
8. Chattanooga, TN-GA Metro Area
9. Colorado Springs, CO Metro Area
10. Ogden-Clearfield, UT Metro Area

and CNNMoney also has a
Best Places to live list:
1. Louisville, CO
2. Chanhassen, MN
3. Papillion, NE
4. Middleton, WI
5. Milton, MA
6. Warren, NJ
7. Keller, TX
8. Peachtree City, GA
9. Lake St. Louis, MO
10. Mukilteo, WA

Not sure if the stars were aligning trying to tell me something. When you look at recently sold home in Omaha, three bedroom, three bathroom 2,500 square foot home for $175,000. A monthly payment around $700 and lower property taxes. It sure makes you think.

I am sure all of these places are special, but first glances none are near the Ocean. This is big strike against them since I love to sail, and not on a lake. Most are in the middle of the country where the cost of living is less, but from what I can tell my heating bill (just not this week) would be a lot more. Also without a municipal owned electric provider I am sure I would pay more for in the summer for air conditioning.

So for now, I will pay what is necessary to live in good old Alameda but at some point I am sure I will begin to wonder like Baedeker,

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