Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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place finder

Place Yourself

In Who’s Your City, I list a ten-step process for deciding on a new home.
Here’s an abbreviated version:

  1. What’s important to you?

    What do you like most and least about where you live now? Where are the places you’d most like to live? Is it important to ind a job in your ield, or are you thinking of a career change? How important to you are outdoor activities and nature? Climate and weather? Cultural activities and the arts?

  2. Generate a short list.

    A good starting place is either Bert Sterling’s “Find Your Own Best Place Tool” or Kiplinger’s “Which city is best for you”, which allow you to compare communities by cost of living, schools, crime, climate and other factors.

  3. Do Your Homework.

    Read and gather information. Look at statistics. Read the local papers. Visit and talk to people.

  4. What do they offer?

    How do the cities compare in job opportunities? Cost-of-Living? Professional development?

    Networking opportunities?

  5. The Basics.

    Are the schools good? The streets safe? Housing affordable? Transportation available, and congestion manageable?

  6. Does the place “Get it”?

    What is the political leadership like? Not only now, but historically? Are there opportunities for citizen involvement?

  7. Values check.

    Does the place match your values? Is there tolerance of differences? Do people seem to trust one another? Do people seem to feel free to express their individuality? And how important are these things to you?

  8. Does it Light Your Fire?

    What are the aesthetics of the place? Does it have parks, old buildings, interesting stores? And which of these matters most to you? Does it seem authentic? Does it have unique neighborhoods or is everything generic? Does it value and preserve its history? Whatever you do for fun, is it available? Arts & culture, music or theater, spectator or participant sports. Find the people who live there and share your interests, and talk to them.

  9. Tally it up.

    Remember, no place is perfect. Make a chart of what’s important to you and compare the places on your short list. Add up the places and compare them. But don’t decide based on just numbers.
    Use your chart to choose places to actually visit.

  10. Go There

    Do you know people who live in each city? Talk to them.
    Visit for more than just a weekend. What is the rhythm of the city during the week? Overnight?
    Is the noise level alright? Are the streets too empty or too crowded?
    Explore different neighborhoods. A city is more than just its downtown.