Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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A nomadic life – one city at a time.

I grew up in Nashville, TN, home to the Parthenon and all types of music, but most importantly for me, incredible green space and mountains nearby. In spite of blistering heat and humidity in the summer, I never wanted to be indoors.

But I have always been drawn to big cities and realized early on that Nashville was too small for me. Since leaving home for college (U of Michigan – Ann Arbor), I have lived in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego , New York and D.C. (Bethesda, MD) actually. And, reading Who’s Your City? answered many of the questions that I have spent 20+ years trying to figure out on my own.

Cities do have distinct personalities!!!!! I can honestly say that I would not have wanted to grow up anywhere but Nashville. It is a wonderful place to raise a family and is surrounded by many great educational institutions. Chicago is a great city, but the winters are ungodly. Detroit and I mix like oil and water. But if you have to live there, I say live in Royal Oak, Birmingham or Troy.

I love LA primarily because of how laid back it is. It is hard not to be happy when you can walk along the beach. Then there is San Diego, one of the most aesthetically beautiful cities in the U.S. But it has a small town feel – shops and restaurants close early and outside of the gas lamp district, there is not much going on at night. Hillcrest is a great area (predominantly gay which coincides with the book). But I get the fee ling that outside of this area, the rest of San Diego is conservative.

I admit that I was surprised that D.C. made the list of one of the most creative cities. There are probably neighborhoods that define this, but it is so politically overwhelming that I cannot see much beyond that.

Now, saving the best for last, New York, NY – hands down one of my favorite cities. When Richard talks about creative cities having an energy and openness, that is NY. I felt more at home there than I had living anywhere else. And the only thing missing for me was natural green space, more than just Central Park. Also I realize that climate is important. Temperate climates are best for me because I enjoy being outdoors year-round. After 13 years on and off in Ann Arbor/Detroit, if I never see another snowflake, it will be too soon! :-)

My recommendation to anyone who is trying to figure out where to live is to first read this book; then visit the city; find bloggers who hate it and see what they have to say (if what they hate is what you love – you’re in); and finally just move and rent, don’t buy! There is a reason that San Francisco and the Bay Area make the top of just about every list. It is NY on the West Coast, with green space, the ocean and mountains nearby. Reading this book helped me finally articulate exactly the right fit for me.

Could a move to the Bay Area possibly be my last? :-)

Sent by Taisha  from Bethesda, MD

5 Responses to “A nomadic life – one city at a time.”

  1. Rana Says:

    Everything you say resonates so deeply with me, having lived in Birmingham, Troy, Ann Arbor, DC, Miami and Toronto. I love New York but need green space. I love California but it’s the best and worst of the United States. I worked in Bethesda and hung out lots in Royal Oak.

    I loved DC save for the politics and summer heat. The snow in Toronto and Detroit is insane. I think you’re next move is Chicago! Fabulous diversity, amenities, green space and city life. Though not my favorite, flights to Arizona in the winter are direct and prevalent.

  2. annie Says:

    “… find bloggers who hate it and see what they have to say (if what they hate is what you love – you’re in) …”

    What a great idea, Taisha!



  3. Cristobal Jose Says:

    I made my last move to San Francisco after being a nomad for 30 years. I am “home”!

  4. Quinn Says:

    “Chicago is a great city, but the winters are ungodly.”

    How very true!

    I loved visiting San Francisco, but the prices to rent/own are overwhelmingly high.

  5. Dee Dee Says:

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful response and great advice in searching for the right place.
    I live in Denver now (11 years) and have lived in Greensboro, NC (4 years), Dalllas Ft. Worth (4 years) ,briefly, 3 months in Portland, Or, and spent many amazing years in undergrad and grad school in New Orleans while being born in small town in the south. I have recently visited Austin and have had mixed reviews on it but have found it to, possibly?? be the best of the cities I have visited recently and considered to relocate to (Atlanta, Charlotte, Charleston) so I am seriously considering a job at a major company in Austin. My hesitation with Austin is the relatively dry climate and consequently dry brown landscape. ( I like warm and humid and weather and ‘have over stayed my climate welcome’ in arid Denver) The people in Austin were very friendly and liberal-two extremely important aspects to my ideal city. I have about 20 full time working years left in me so a place where I can develop my business of behavioral health wellness workshops within companies is critical. I love to eat fresh seafood, be with ethnically diverse people, have some great culture, listen to great music, hike, bike, enjoy lots of GREEN and the ability to buy a 3 bedroom home for around 275k. Do you any thoughts about cities that could make the cut? I am VERY GRATEFUL for your response.

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