Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In

What Do We Want from the Place We Call Home?

2936142882_6011c4c55b.jpgIn downtown Denver, walkable streets and cultural amenities like bookstores are a selling point. (Photo: Joshua G R via Flickr)

What are people looking for when they search for a place to live?
This morning on the Streetsblog Network, we’re featuring a couple of
posts from people who have been trying to find home. Obviously,
different people want different things from their residences at
different stages of life. But what struck us about both of the posts
was the high value the writers put on walkability — a trend highlighted
by the use of tools like Walk Score on real estate sites around the country.

First, at Extraordinary Observations,
guest blogger Melinda Urick (she’s in her 30s and single) writes about
how, after a lifetime of bouncing around mostly suburban neighborhoods
in Northeastern Ohio, she has finally gravitated to Downtown Cleveland
— and is loving it:

[S]ix months ago, I finally moved into an apartment downtown. TheEast 4th neighborhood has its positives and negatives as with anywhereelse I have lived, but I finally felt a belonging to my surroundings.The only inconvenience in living downtown is paying to park yourvehicle safely in a garage. Downtown is safe, regardless of the horrorstories suburbanites like to [tell]. These are people who likely have been downtown once or twice in the last couple of years.

Yes, there is grocery shopping nearby, and I will walk the eightblocks to the store with no complaints. I will walk seven blocks to myATM. The library is a mere walk through the Arcade. I can leave mybuilding and choose from a variety of local restaurants for any meal,as well as several local coffee shops. I can easily bike to the marketor even skate to the lakefront. 

Next, at New Geography, Michael Scott explains why he and his young family picked Denver when deciding to leave their current home in California:

[I]n terms of intangibles, several are prominent. We’re looking tocapitalize on Denver’s new urbanist-influenced walkability. The cityhas lots of options, from the hip and trendy Lo Do District to theestablished community of Capitol Hill. A key requirement of ourultimate housing choice will be a quality school district, along withproximity to transportation, coffee houses, grocery stores, fine diningvenues, and even co-working sites. In our current residence in Folsom,California, it’s a challenge to stroll by foot to area amenities.  

Meanwhile, over at NRDC Switchboard, Kaid Benfield is wondering, "Has the automobile era jumped the shark?" He uses a Facebook post from the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute as his starting point. Here’s what that post says:

I am ready to declare that America has hit peak VMT (Vehicle MilesTraveled). We leveled out in 2001 in per capita growth, then in 2006 inactual growth, and there is now a slight decline overall. Not many ofmy modeling friends are ready to agree…. but what if we now measurecommunity building success as reduced VMT? What would be wrong withthat? What would be wrong with measuring success with happiness instead?

We’re wondering: Have you recently relocated? What were the factors
most important to you when looking for a new place to call home? Is
walkability a top priority for you? How do you measure success? And do
you think the primacy of the automobile might be in decline? Let us
know in the comments.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

City Repaved Coronado Street Without Measure HLA-Required Bikeway

Months after voters overwhelmingly demanded safer streets, the city appears to be installing fewer safety upgrades. Last week, the city repaved what appears to be the first test case for the new law: Coronado Street.

May 22, 2024

Wilmington CicLAvia CicLAmini – Open Thread

CicLAmini photos - plus a look at the recently opened Wilmington Waterfront Promenade

May 20, 2024
See all posts