Friday, January 11, 2008


Since I've moved to this state, I've lived and worked in all three cities that make up the geometric shape the region is often referred to as.

I started out living and working 10 years in Smaller City, where I stayed for 10 years before moving to Medium City. Before moving to Medium City I did work there for about 9 months, but my job then was sadly limited to about a 10'x10' office (NO LEAVING! YOU CAN DO COMMUNITY WORK IN THE OFFICE!).

Then eventually I got this fabulous job I have now (every job has its downsides, but this one is good overall), which is located in Big City. It worried me a bit, I have to say. It's 25 miles from my house to work, one way. That's a lot of gas, but my salary can take it, barely. The environment, on the other hand...not as great. I'll deal with that later, though, because I love where I live now. And my field requires me to drive a lot in the course of the day, so it's not like I can get away with riding a bike to my job (even if it were closer).

I'm getting off track here. Let me see if I can finagle my way back to where I was going.

So I've now experienced most of the area by either living or working there, and I feel like I can finally make an informed judgment about all three cities.

Small City: too small, too expensive, impossible parking, bad housing unless you're Richy Rich. Fabulous public transportation (considering the size of the town and that it's located in the US), progressive people, kick ass music scene that I never took advantage of, and a wonderful farmer's market.

Medium City: urban in feel, affordable housing in close-knit, walkable neighborhoods, growing farmer's market, feels small but still big, close to green spaces (including a fantastic state park), diversity* abounds, and we benefit from being close to Local Private University and the culture and discussions that brings. Local Private University is also a con, by the way, because they're a little manipulative of the community, in my opinion. It's also a decently progressive on the whole.

Big City: Traditional, sprawly, and there exists such a thing as a signature women's haircut. It's the capital, so you've got all the good and bad that goes along with that. I have easy access to my legislators, and the legislative cafeteria makes a mean spanikopita. The state museums are here, along with the larger arts venues that showcase mainstream plays and musicals, the orchestra, etc. The worst part about Big City is the suburbs. The city mimics Atlanta, in that there's a distinctly different feel and social connotation for those who live outside the looped highway that circles the city, versus those that live inside. It's cooler to live inside. The outside living areas are those horrible builder's communities where the houses mostly all look alike. If I had to live in Big City, I'd probably live over by where a few of my friends bought houses in an area that borders some pretty sketchy neighborhoods.

Y'all? I wasn't able to get back to where I was going. There was one and only one motivator for me to write today, and yet I managed to expand this into a quick and dirty comparison of three communities that are different enough that there's really no comparing them.


Big City has easy access to donuts. Small and Medium city do not. That's the difference.

*in this case, we have approximately equal numbers of black and white folk--sadly, though, it's pretty segregated as far as housing goes, and there is definitely racial tension. My guess is that the housing segregation is mostly due to socio-economic status. I live in a neighborhood that is pretty white, middle class. I make almost 50% above the per capita income, and I don't make much at all.