Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Austin vs. St. Petersburg

I currently live in Huntington, WV, a college town, but still on the small side.

I had lived in New York city for almost 9 years, but moved back when I had my son. I am finishing up school, and am wanting to move to another city. My two choices are Austin, TX or St. Petersburg, FL.

I am looking for employment as a medical coder/health information management. Also, I am into healthy living – organic foods, yoga, holistic medicine, and am environmentally conscious. I want to live in an environment that is diverse on all levels. I need somewhere that is affordable. And finally, I want to live in a place that has good schools for my son. Does Austin or St. Petersburg live up to this?, or should i look elsewhere?

Sent by Jill from Huntington, WV

7 Responses to “Austin vs. St. Petersburg”

  1. Michelle Says:

    Hi Jill –

    My boyfriend and I live in Berkeley, CA and had lived in San Francisco for several years prior. We are also into healthy living (yoga, meditation,dance, etc.) and this area seems to be the mecca of that lifestyle. Not to mention it’s in such a beautiful setting with wonderful weather all year round – plus beaches and mountains so close to home!

    However, it’s expensive here. And we sometimes feel that it would be nicer to live in a smaller community where people know you by name.

    We’ve considered Austin as well but fear the heat. We’ve also thought of the Pacific Northwest but fear the rain. Please let me know if you find the perfect place!!!

  2. Heather Says:

    Try Madison, WI. There’s many medical jobs, especially with Epic Software. It’s also heavily into the green, organic lifestyle. Has country’s largest farmer’s market.

  3. J. Says:

    Des Moines Iowa is a wonderful place to live – lots of newer housing and it’s affordable. They have great restaurants and farmers markets all over. You can be in the country watching deer and spotting woodpeckers in 10 min. driving time. They have natural foods markets too. Did I mention theatre and the arts? All there. The schools are great – did you eatch the primaries that were held in school auditoriums – notice that they were al hardwood and very nicely built. Des Moines values its children.Just don’t bring too many people, then it wouldn’t be the same great place. People are friendly too.

  4. Fred Says:

    My wife and I are an interracial couple with two young children. We are also teachers. We love Austin because of its coolness, tolerance, and lack of chain stores. However, it has gotten too expensive to live downtown and we hear teaching jobs are hard to come by. I have heard that Louisville is an up and coming Austin. Is this true? or would anyone know another up and coming city that has similar qualities as Austin?

  5. Cat Says:

    My husband and I have been on a years-long quest to find a place that offers a slower pace, good employment, progressive thinking and a healthy lifestyle. Strangely, we came down to the two very cities you are pondering right now. We were living in Berkeley, Ca and had grown tired of the “greener than thou” attitude and the cost of living. To many of our friends shock, we chose St. Petersburg, Fla.

    We have been here for one year now and love it. We settled in a cute little bungalow in a very gay-friendly neighborhood. We can live according to our principles here: joined a local csa, found a good yoga studio, live where we work and exist mostly in a walkable little bubble. True, there are not a multitude of offerings here, but the smallish tight-knit community that cares about the same things we do has been very welcoming and we are very happy.

  6. Leslie Says:

    I love Austin, with its organic co-ops, raw food caterers, yoga studios, subsidies for green architecture, cycling, hiking, walking, and live music. A very cool place! I haven’t looked into holistic medicine, but it seems like it should be into that.

    On the diversity front, two of my friends have mixed marriages, a third is one of two moms in their little family of three, and a fourth used to live on a commune. I haven’t seen or heard about any problems for any of these friends or their kids, so tolerance is definitely there. I haven’t seen any stats on how the population breaks down – I know it’s not as diverse as NY, where you can hear all different languages as you walk around.

    Although there are a lot of different types of restaurants, if you’re not really looking, it may start feeling like there’s too much Mexican. So if one of the things you enjoyed about NY is the tremendous diversity of food offerings, you’ll have to look harder in the much smaller Austin, and there will probably some things you don’t find. Not as many museums as DFW or Houston (which have fewer than NY), and not as many sports-watching opportunities. Again, depending on what you mean by diversity. Part of this is what’s valued, and part’s size. Seems like the city’s values are pretty in-line with yours.

    I don’t know St. Petersburg, but am now going to have to look into it.

    Best of luck!

  7. Stephen Says:

    I live in Austin. It’s nice. Pretty good job market and alot going on. However in Florida you’d have the ocean and the beach which is hard to beat. Tough choice.

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