Why You Don't Have to Leave the City

By Julie Ford

I moved to New York City from the South eight years ago and have come to love city living. While it definitely has its challenges, the benefits for my family continue to outweigh the downsides. 

One of those downsides is the seemingly constant stream of farewells to friends moving back home or to the suburbs. After yet another summer of goodbyes, I’ve been reminding myself of the reasons I stay.

There are the obvious draws of a city - opportunity, diversity, culture, and the unique energy. As wonderful as these things are, their allure can fade over time. Here are some of the most attractive - and less talked about - aspects of city living that have created long-lasting appeal for me.


1.    Proximity to people

I am an introvert, but I love having apartment neighbors. It’s a little like dorm life. It’s so easy it is to catch up with neighbors as I’m walking into the building with my kids. The hallway on our floor is an extension of everyone’s personal space. It makes for easy and frequent community. Apartment living has fostered much stronger neighbor relationships than I’ve experienced anywhere else. This article captures the sense of community well.  

Living in a modestly-sized apartment also encourages family cohesion. Our family naturally ends up in the same room together because we only have one room to gather in besides the bedroom. It comes at the cost of privacy and alone time, but overall we’ve found this to be a big upside.


2.    Walkability

I find that my kids enjoy the stroller, walking or their scooters far more than a car seat. I’m able to have fun conversations, stop and watch the backhoe working on our street, wave at the city bus drivers, and talk about what we see. A more obvious upside is the exercise. My kids get to let out a lot of energy just by commuting around the neighborhood. I won’t lie: it can be a serious challenge walking around the city when the weather is foul. Much like driving there are annoying downsides, but overall we see the walkability of our city as a net positive.

Plus, who doesn’t love a short commute? In a city you generally have much shorter commutes, which adds valuable time to your day.


3.    Fewer possessions

Cities are short on space so most of us simply own less, meaning we’re responsible for less. Owning less frees up time, money and energy. You’re also forced to be more thoughtful about (and with) what you buy. This semi-forced frugality also creates more opportunity and need for sharing and passing along goods within your community.

Did you notice that most of these benefits have nothing to do with money? Money is often a huge driver in our decisions about where to live. However, the non-financial reasons that draw you to a particular place are worth weighing heavily and perhaps worth a few sacrifices in order to make the finances work.

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.