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18 February 2012

Is there a neighborhood, anywhere, that you consider an ideal place to live? What neighborhood (or city) stands out for you as a place where you could have a really nice life? What in particular makes it special?[More:]
I've been thinking of moving back to Austin, Texas, and for me, Hyde Park has always seemed like an ideal neighborhood. Do you have a place in mind like that?
Well number one is you have to be able to get around without a car. Not being monstrously ugly helps but then you're ruling out a lot of the US.
posted by The Whelk 18 February | 12:20
I agree with The Whelk, BUT, in my ideal neighborhood, I would also have easy access to a car I could use whenever I want. I think my ideal neighborhood is Alexandria, VA. I'd live in one of those big, old townhomes (I had a friend who lived in a gorgeous one when I was in elementary school, we always went trick-or-treating in her neighborhood), and take the Metro into DC for work, and then I'd come home and enjoy my beautiful neighborhood.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 18 February | 12:35
Alexandria is purdy.
posted by The Whelk 18 February | 12:41
but yeah some combination of walkability, bikability, natural or man-made beauty, access to fresh food, at least a smattering of cultural attractions or access to outisde world railinks or whatever. Everything else seems like window dressing.

Oh except I hate the heat ;P
posted by The Whelk 18 February | 12:45
This webcam gives an impression of what the old city centre of Utrecht is like.
posted by jouke 18 February | 13:28
I couldn't take the Austin heat in the spring.
I think in a lot of ways you build the place you want to live, you put down roots and care about the community, get involved.
Ideally, I'd like a mishmash of places, the DC Metro, the bugless regions, the access to quality stuff, etc. but there's pros and cons to everything. Some places sound great except the weather. Some places sound perfect if you could afford them.
I think I'm lucky to still be pretty adaptable. There are things I'd like but few I couldn't live without.
I'd like the accessibility and convenience of a city, but also the space and advantages of some place less urban.

Someone stake off some land, already.
posted by ethylene 18 February | 14:33
but yeah some combination of walkability, bikability, natural or man-made beauty, access to fresh food, at least a smattering of cultural attractions or access to outisde world railinks or whatever. Everything else seems like window dressing.

I agree with this.

I've never been to Alexandria, although I lived in Virginia for several years.
posted by jayder 18 February | 15:38
With regard to Austin's heat -- yes, it is punishing. I can survive it if all I have to wear is t-shirt and shorts, but I'm not sure how people who have to wear suits manage their daily routine.
posted by jayder 18 February | 15:40
I used to think I know, using the regular coastal urban dogma about walkable cities communities etc but actually I don't

we'll have to see
posted by Firas 18 February | 16:03
My own island. Maybe Madagascar, if I could throw the rest of the people out and close the ports.
posted by Splunge 18 February | 16:33
I love where I am (Seattle.) Because it is green. Because you can see snow capped mountains. Because of all the water -- lakes, the Sound, trickling brooks. Because it is temperate year round, plus I am partial to rain, mist and fog. Because of the many bookstores, movie theaters, theaters, and other performing arts. Because there is a really impressive university here (University of Washington) and a pretty good one (Seattle University.) Because it is a home to good medicine and good medical research. Because I really like the relaxed, fit, family-oriented, tolerant vibe of this place. I could go on. I fell for this city nearly a quarter century ago and I love it just as much today.
posted by bearwife 18 February | 17:53
Oh, forgot to mention the amazing food here. Locally grown produce and berries, fantastic oysters, the salmon, and more. And plenty of talented local chefs.
posted by bearwife 18 February | 17:54
Seattle has proven to be virtually everything I needed to accommodate my heart disease. Although the public transit system is pretty much nonexistent in the suburbs on Sundays, it makes up for its absence on the remaining days of the week.

I never did get to Madison to compare, but the attraction for me there is an actual winter.
posted by Ardiril 18 February | 18:20
I can't think of any ideal place to live but the neighbourhood I live in now is as close to ideal as I have yet to find.
posted by arse_hat 18 February | 23:48
We want to eventually sell our house and move closer into the city, namely the Fairmount neighborhood of Forth Worth, or possibly adjacent Ryan Place. It's basically an area of 100 year old single family homes (like this), many of which have been renovated but still have the old charm. It is walking/cycling distance from lots of cool stuff, including a cool row of restaurants (such as the local vegan place), bars and other businesses on Magnolia Avenue.
posted by Doohickie 19 February | 00:51
The homes where I've felt most content are my stepuncle's places in Santa Barbara and those lived in by /with connections to a classmate's from the Writer's Workshop.

The house where I most want to live is Longfellow's in Cambridge.
posted by brujita 19 February | 00:59
I haven't lived enough places to know for sure, but Cambridge (UK), Oslo and Copenhagen have their definite appeal. In the US, Seattle and Denver are two cities I like quite a bit. I probably wouldn't do the US east coast and the sun belt is right out.
posted by tortillathehun 19 February | 02:46
Martha's Vineyard. Also loved living in Portsmouth NH and love Portland ME for similar reasons, but transportation is a problem there without a car. Where I live now is cool with great public transportation but the trade-off is it's far from nature, farms, etc.
posted by Miko 19 February | 12:36
Seattle because of everything bearwife said. I'd also like to try NYC sometime (I've visited once), but that will never happen (the mister has lived in downtown Vancouver and is done with big cities).
posted by deborah 23 February | 00:03
First Aid Kit - The Lions Roar || Pet Anteater!