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dubone

People that surprisingly choose a more urban life?

I know people who surprisingly choose an urban life?   30 members have voted

  1. 1. I know people who surprisingly choose an urban life?

    • Many
      5
    • Some
      17
    • One
      2
    • The suburbs are too nice for any of my associates to give up.
      6

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17 posts in this topic

I have recently heard of at least two people who I never would have dreamed to live uptown, but have chosen to live uptown as part of the recent development boom.

One is a teacher, who works in the suburbs and obviously doesn't have much money. He has bought a condo in the mid-100s uptown and does a reverse commute. In part there is a hope for better appreciation in town, but the reverse commute saves him a lot of time and trouble, and he is able to take part in the night life/bars without having to figure out transportation.

Another is a barber, again not making too much money, who bought at Quarterside after swearing by LKN living for a long time, despite the long commute.

In part, I think gas prices are getting them to consider reducing their commutes, either by reverse commuting or by living nearer their inner city jobs. I also think that the small size of units is actually enticing for those single people who seem to plan to stay single for a little while. They are able to afford those smaller units, but still live in the center of a lot of the action. I also think that the planned growth of shopping options is helping, too.

I think the growth of urban living continues to build in the generation that is currently in their 20s and early 30s. I think many in that generation have the inner desire for urban living, but haven't really had the thought or opportunity. The boom is starting to create the opportunity for them to move and live that life.

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I guess the million dollar question is downtown Charlotte really urban? It's got no stores to speak of, most of the retail that is there in in a suburban style shopping mall, its got single family homes on single family lots, more parking spaces than people, and practically no street life. I took some people through there on Sunday at lunch time and it was amazing how desolate the place was especially given that it was Christmas Eve.

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Multifamily and zero-lot line housing with neighborhood services within walking distance, a gridded and highly connected street network, and a population density of multiple thousands per mile.

Where do I pick up my million?

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Multifamily and zero-lot line housing with neighborhood services within walking distance, a gridded and highly connected street network, and a population density of multiple thousands per mile.

Where do I pick up my million?

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Okay, so people can count that, too. The poll question doesn't say 'downtown Charlotte', just my two examples.

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I took some people through there on Sunday at lunch time and it was amazing how desolate the place was especially given that it was Christmas Eve.

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Ummm, I think the fact that it was Christmas Eve explains the desolation. Charlotte is a city filled with transients and is certainly no holiday hotspot, so that's not surprising in the least.

Not to mention the fact that a lot of people were probably still in church at that time.

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There are so many other threads to discuss the definition for urban and just how much uptown Charlotte sucks. This thread is for discussing people's choices to live a more urban life. Living in a culdesac in an outlying town and driving 20 miles to work is decidedly less urban as living in multi-family complex with 200 other people with ground floor retail, and being 5 blocks from work.

Interpret the question however you guys want and then explain it. Maybe for some you, there are people leaving Charlotte and moving to Manhattan. For others it is moving into a New Urban or Traditional Neighborhood Design village. Let's just discuss the social process of choosing a more urban life.

We talk so much about the projects and the designs going up, but it would be fun, I think, to hear of the human side of these new developments, especially from people who otherwise just lived in suburbia.

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I think the fact that even shopping centers in the suburbs are taking a more urban form speaks to the general movement towards a more urban form of living in this area.

I have heard that Northlake Mall might very well be the last regional enclosed mall to ever be built in this nation. That form of auto dependent development has just about died off.

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There are degrees of urbanity. Uptown does not have consistent urban vitality currently, but the heartbeat is getting louder by the year and I think many people are banking on having a truly lived in urban district in the next decade or so. It comes down personal preference and individual lifestyles. Uptown is going to continue to be dominated by young professionals and empty nesters. Recent college grads like to be where the action is and where other singles are. The higher end condos appeal to older couples whose kids have long ago left home and they don't see the need for a big suburban house anymore. Aside from them the typical middle class family is locked out pricewise and would not touch the school system anyway. Personally, I never want to have kids. The only animal I plan on raising is a dog. I don't ever want a house or lawn to take care of. I only see more apts and perhaps a condo in my future. I guess I qualify as urban :)

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It's been my experience that seniors, through the adventures of my parents, prefer to live in neighborhoods with other seniors where there are centers with activities that cater to them. I can't imagine this would apply to any condo going up in downtown these days. I am not saying there are not any older people looking to live there but I would think it would be an insignificant amount of people. Instead they are looking at places like Sun city or places like this new proposal to build neighborhood near the lake with an age restriction of 55 and older. (this is a legal)

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Actually, it seems as though there is an uptick in seniors wanting a vibrant urban community (that's not to say that retirement communities will lose their appeal anytime soon, but some don't really want that), as this article demonstrates.

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I live in Dilworth and chose to buy a downtown condo. Main reason, for 10 years I've enjoyed the amenities in Dilworth and the more urban life than Mint Hill where my parents live. Needing a car and a 10 minute drive and park to do absolutely everything other than visit the neighbors brought me in this far. Increased activity and tons of development are making me move still further in. Two work associates moved to 4th Ward last year and can't quit talking about what a good decision it was. I can't wait to get downtown so I can do what I've been doing without driving:

Walk to:

Panthers games

TONS of restaurants (i would include bars but don't go out much anymore)

Spirit Square & Blumenthal

The Arena

Friends condos and houses

Trolley and light rail (to get me to friends in Southend and Dilworth)

Any and every street festival

and finally walk around to people watch

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I think financial circumstance plays a huge factor. Right now, I assume the type of older person moving back to cities like NY after retirement has to be very very wealthy. People like my mom, parent in laws, aunties, etc. who own or rent in NY will probably leave and move south (from what I understand the largest migration of blacks since reconstruction and Hurricane Katrina). These are upper middle class, middle class and working class people. If they've left though or leave, it would be extremely difficult for them to re-enter the NY market due to how continually expensive it is. I think the future of NY is less & less diversity and increasingly heightened blatant division btwn the haves & have not (who can't afford to leave but can't afford to live better where they're at either). I t hink people like the older heads in my family will be looking for the quality of life at a low cost that can be found in the south but want a more urban style of doing it. They'll want to buy a condo in more citified area in rather than a single family home in the suburbs and definitely wouldn't want to live in an old folks community.

Anyway, I do think that many older people accustomed to living in an urban environment who've left and can afford to go back do so because its healthy from a mental standpoint. The activity and hustle & bustle of city life keeps their minds going. I've read some studies that suggest that old people are a little less prone to alzheimers and the like when live in a city environment. They are also able to be more mobile and independant. They don't need to drive or call somebody to take them to the store and pick up some potatoes, y'know. They can walk & do their little shopping, walk up to the school and take a course or walk to the park. There's a certain freedom in that, I believe.

For the younger people, there's a certain type who wants to raise their kids in a city atmosphere. Not everyone dreams of a backyard & picket fence. I've been talking about this with my husband as we discuss having kids - weighing the benefits of a suburban life vs a city upbringing. Maybe its our bias as former city kids but we feel that these kids are oft times more "sophisticated" (for lack of a better word). That can be a good & bad thing. The definite plus side of good suburban public schools are often mitigated by the in the box type of thinking that comes with them. Is it going to be all dance squads and friday night football games? Not that there's anything wrong with either. But a school bus kid is (to me) often very different from a walk to school, catch the train or public bus kid. Growing up in an apartment building and going down the hall to ring your friends door is very different than coming up in a house where you have to climb in the car to visit anyone.

just some thoughts

edited to add: Charlotte_native you hit the nail on the head with this statement:

Needing a car and a 10 minute drive and park to do absolutely everything other than visit the neighbors brought me in this far.

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Charlotte Native's post was interesting b/c I stuggle with that choice myself sometimes. Under some definitions I'm already "in town" - about 7 miles south of uptown off South Blvd. But I'd still like to be closer in.

I got a 1960's ranch home now. It's 8 foot ceilings, outdated paneling, small closets and small windows have always annoyed me, as well as the time spent keeping up a yard. The commute is OK, the #12 bus takes about 25 minutes. The urban amenities are marginable here... a few Mexican restaurants and some Dollar stores.

The key driver in my calculations may well be the light rail line. If I'm content with using it to get to work, and feel like the restaurants in south end are easy to get to, or if the rail line spurs some better retail at the stops, I may just renovate my house and stay put. If not, I'll probably rent it to someone else - and move closer in, hopefully into something I like better.

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It's been my experience that seniors, through the adventures of my parents, prefer to live in neighborhoods with other seniors where there are centers with activities that cater to them. I can't imagine this would apply to any condo going up in downtown these days. I am not saying there are not any older people looking to live there but I would think it would be an insignificant amount of people. Instead they are looking at places like Sun city or places like this new proposal to build neighborhood near the lake with an age restriction of 55 and older. (this is a legal)

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