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Posts: 18
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If you had the choice, would you live in a very small city (less then 20K) with 3 lots side by side, or would you move 20 minutes out onto an acreage (say 15 acres)?
Why would you make that choice?

As you may have guessed, I'm in such a pickle. I'm hoping to glean some different viewpoints, cause I'm on the fence!
 
                  
Posts: 59
Location: NW Ontario
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I guess alot depends on what you want to accomplish and your lifestyle...
I definately feel more freedom living in the woods than I ever did living in the city. Municipal by-laws can be a pain in the ass. Some cities are comming around to the idea of letting people keep animals (like chickens) in their yards while others won't even let you hang your laundry out to dry!
On the flip-side, if you (or your kids) abolutely must drive into town 4 times a day for whatever reason then it might be better to live there as that is the more sustainable thing to do. Most likely you'll have more neighbours living nearer to you in town, so that can be handy too if everyone's community minded.
Hope this helps.
 
Suzie Browning
Posts: 48
Location: Southwestern Ohio
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I grew up on 5 acres and then lived in town most of my young adult life.  Been back out now for 12 years and I would never live in town again as long as I have a choice.

It's easy to go into "the city" for many reasons and easy to get that fix if it's needed.  It's harder (when you are a city slicker) to go out in the country to enjoy country life just for it's simplicity.

This picture is one of my main reasons for not living in town. It doesn't get much better than this on a leisurely walk to lock up the chickens for the night.


summer-splendor-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for summer-splendor-2.jpg]
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I live in town on a pretty small place, but grew up on a really big country property and I hanker for that space.
So much depends on your individual circumstances: I don't drive, so moving back 'home' isn't really a viable option and I won't try to squeeze chooks and bees on mine.
But having a limited space also makes you imaginative and flexible: I'm growing espalier fruit trees and have arrangements to share tree care and crops.
Another thing is that cities can be surprisingly good sources of easy-to-get-home-or-delivered free 'stuff' like grass clippings and coffee grounds. This might not be an isue for most, but relying on public transport makes me very aware of that kind of thing.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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suzie explained it perfectly. after living in the country i will NEVER live in a city again.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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well our choice WAS to move to the acerage..we live 6 miles from a very small town and 20 miles from a larger city and 45 miles from Traverse City Michigan..a larger city.

we are 6 miles from ambulance and fire service so our insurances are still reasonable that way..and having had a housefire appreciated that little perk

we are just too far for county busses to come..about 1/4 mile too far..so that sucks if you had to use the bus..but i don't so that is fine.

we can get emergency stuff if we need from the closer town, but not much as it is mainly party store, but does have bank and drug store access.

hated living in town and having people making noise and watching our every move..been here 39 years
 
Jami McBride
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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books chicken duck food preservation forest garden hugelkultur trees
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All great responses....

I would add that cities grow...... and that option to 'move out' may pass you by.

Of course if your life is all bound up in your small town then living out in the country may only complicate your life, but I would move anyway - and happily wait for the town to come to me.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3381
Location: woodland, washington
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I just moved out of a small apartment in Seattle to a few rural acres outside a small town.  three city lots should be plenty to grow a lot of food, and you the market for your excess would be very close by.  I believe the political and social statement made by homesteading in a city (supposing that's what you'll be doing) is much stronger than that of folks who head "back to the land".  if you end up going with the city, you'll be setting a good example for the huge number of folks in urban areas and maybe providing some excellent and extremely local food for your neighbors.

in my experience, meaningful community is also much easier to find in cities.  I think there is something to be said for the intimacy of small-town communities, but there are a lot of drawbacks as well.  cities allow us to choose our own communities and stay relatively anonymous to everyone else.

the advantages of rural areas are well-known, and others have mentioned some.  didn't seem like cities were getting a fair shake.  truth is, there are a lot of people in cities and I don't believe a mass exodus to the countryside is a good idea.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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I was raised in a couple of small towns, and don't anticipate ever wanting to live in such isolation again.

I really liked toby hemenway's take on the issue: it makes sense rationally, and also matches my personal experience of the situation.

Designing Beyond Disaster

Cities, Peak Oil, and Sustainability
 
                                  
Posts: 18
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Thanks for all your replies. I'm really aiming at getting the whole picture for each option, so I appreciate the thoughts of what applies to you personally. If any more people feel like contributing the reasoning of their own decision to moving in or out of town, I'd be glad to hear it!
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3381
Location: woodland, washington
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just a clarification: I moved out of Seattle to go back to my small hometown.  I sort of wish that I was from the city so I could stay there, but the long-term connection that my family has to this place is more important to me than the great many advantages that city life offers.

so, all else equal (which all else never is), I would go for the city, supposing it's a city I like.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9742
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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We moved from the city to the country because the city was too noisy, crowded, and expensive.  We work at home so there's no concern about commuting.  We would not have moved to the country if we had to commute.  We've been able to live comfortably on a fraction (1/3) of what it cost to live in the city. 

In my opinion, people should try to live where they feel the most comfortable, where they find the most enjoyment day to day.
 
                              
Posts: 19
Location: Alberta, Canada
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I bought a house in a nice family neighborhood, only to find the neighbors from hell next door!  (they were nice for the first 2 years until I was too busy to help them once) 9 years of getting screamed at, swore at, death threats on myself and my kids, screaming vulgar music, having them stand on their deck and swear at me over the fence, bomb threats, and threats of having my house burnt down were beyond tolerable for me and my children.  I bought 110 acres and a shotgun!  I might not get to pick my neighbors but I cant hear them screaming at me from the gate! Until the house gets built and we move we are spending as much time camping out there as we can.  I choose the peace/noise of the country wildlife over that of the psycho $^(%# next door.
Good neighbors are easy to keep, bad neighbors are impossible to get rid of!
 
                              
Posts: 123
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i like the city.

i used to think about moving out into the country, buying some acreage and making my own way.  as much as i dont like where the human race is taking this planet and as much as i dont like the actions of many people ... i think i like them.  people are fun.  they teach you things, entertain you, keep you company...

also, cities are where a lot of people live.  if i move out into the sticks and set up shop... who am i going to share my permaculture fantasy with?  who am i going to motivate to make some changes in their lives.  also, i like art.  i like bars.  i like conversations with people i dont know.  i like riding my pedicab around giving people rides around downtown.

plus, i think this 1/5 acre can keep me more then busy for the rest of my life.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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One of the problems I had with the small towns, was that any necessary institution tended to serve the whole community, meaning the worst people in town were impossible to escape.

As Hemenway hints, meth can be a huge problem out in the country. I expect the economic pressures that currently drive a few communities down that road, will only intensify in the coming decades.

In practice, a lot of space doesn't really make the death threats less credible, it just means that your other neighbors aren't able to look out for you.

But I'm very happy that you've found a place far from your current bad neighbors, Monica!
 
                                  
Posts: 175
Location: Suwon, South Korea
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Freedom vs Convenience.  I think it boils down to that.  I would say that if you're getting up in years and live alone, I'd move a bit more toward the convenience end of the continuum; if you're still young and healthy, the freedom end.

I'm looking for a place now that is no more than 30 minutes away from town and my job.  That should give me a good balance between the freedom/privacy/independence on the one hand that I crave and the convenience I'm going to need increasingly as I age.
 
Robert Ray
gardener
Posts: 1351
Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I live in an unusual area "unicorporated rural community" is how we are tagged by the County. Small developments scattered about 200 square miles with lots of 1-10 acres.
  A small portion of the area has recently become a city,  the population of that city is just under a 1000. 
So I guess I'm rural but have a small city focal point for that community immersion I sometimes require.
  Surrounded by National Forest in 15 minutes can be on a trail in boots, snowshoes or skis, depending on the season.
Not nosy but aware neighbors that can tell if something is amiss as they drive by.
So I'm just rural enough. Would never want to live on another 100x50 foot city lot.
 
                                  
Posts: 18
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Great response! I really enjoy reading about where you are and why you like it. Please keep posting!

So far you've got me thinking about privacy, convenience, cost, social aspects, security and services.
 
suez Cawood
Posts: 32
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Moved from the city to a small farm last year.  I grew up on a farm, lived in the city since.  But I just cannot stomack the city energy.  It's draining my energy.
I still work in the city and is on the roads two hours every day, but the moment when I drive out of the city on the rural roads after the day's work, I experience such a sense of relief.  As if I can breathe again...

Everybody differ and everybody have their own reasons, but I will never live and suffocate in the city again.
 
                            
Posts: 32
Location: Vancouver Island, BC
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I think this is a really personal decision that no one can make for you.  There are ways to live with a much smaller footprint in both the city (getting rid of the car, for instance) and in the country.  In the end I think the decision rests on what makes you happy, what gives you energy to tackle life's and the world's challenges.  We left the bigger city for a rural property that's 10 mins from a small city and 45 mins from the bigger one.  I would never move back because I find the city draining and stressful (despite having grown up in one!).  But my brother-in-law, who loves to visit from the even bigger city, would hate living here.  He gets his energy from being connected daily to the friends and acquaintances that he runs into in his local coffee shop every day.  Another brother-in-law is a SUPER high introvert, and again although he loves to visit, knows that if he lived out here he'd feel isolated and alone; he needs the energy of the city to get him out doing things.

With my husband, I'm as happy as a clam out here where I can see the stars, and breathe properly, and sleep in the quiet nights without neighbours drinking on their balconies.  If I was alone, I'd probably try to find a compromise; I'd feel isolated and overwhelmed on the big property by myself.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3381
Location: woodland, washington
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stalk_of_fennel wrote:
also, i like art.  i like bars.  i like conversations with people i dont know.  i like riding my pedicab around giving people rides around downtown.


yes.  riding a bike is a lot more fun in a city.  and the bars here in the not-city are charming in their own way (smell like cat piss, for instance), but they just don't compare to any of the twelve or so places I used to live within easy walking distance of.

for me, it came down to caring about a place that I have a deep connection to.  it would probably be easier to move to the place that I liked the most (probably some old European town where folks wouldn't mind if I walked my sheep down the cobblestones), but in the end I think it will be better invest in this place and make it better.  I believe the increasing mobility of the larger U.S. culture leads quite directly to place losing its meaning and importance.  if it's easy to just pick up and go somewhere else, the motivation to care for a place is lost and negative consequences follow.  I'm trying to fight that on my own small scale.  fortunately, I'm enjoying myself, too.

and yes, there is clearly some methamphetamine use going on around here, though it doesn't appear to be at epidemic levels.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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well i lived 20 years in city and 39 years in the country, i would never move back to the city, even if i was alone.

even where we live in the country there are more people than we would like..when we moved here you could go a long way before you'd see another house..now they are every few hundred feet or so apart..with some stretches in between in a few areas ..but not like it was when we moved out.

used to never hear other people's stuff (lawnomwers, weedwhackers, dogs)..but now right now i'm hearing a lawnmower across the street from the people who vacation up here a few times a year at their "trailer" across from us..

our  neighbors s and two to the west are from the Detroit area and come up for their get away..so it is quiet when they aren't here..but not when they are.

i'm always planting more trees on our property lines to screen out more and more neighbors and more and more noise.

i like it here and won't move..but wasn't expecting the land to be so built up so quickly
 
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