Why do people prefer the suburbs?

Like dueling twin cities, there is an ongoing feud between those who love the city versus those who prefer a suburb. Here are a few reasons why people move out to the burbs. I present these in no particular order other than how they come to mind.

  1. Many buyers desire privacy. They want their own space and don’t really want to feel obliged to interact with their neighbors. It’s not to say that they don’t greet the resident across the street with a cheery hello- it’s just that they want to be able to retreat behind their four walls if they so desire. There is a little more elbow room on a .25-.31 of an acre lot which is standard in the burbs, than on a city lot which runs about half the size.
  2. Less drama. That’s how an acquaintance explained it long ago. When you pull back your front shades and see a guy sleeping in his car in a pile of refuge, you wonder if you should go investigate. It’s not that he is causing you any harm, but you feel like you should go check on him. This happens far less out in the burbs.
  3. Many suburbs offer reliable transit access to a central city around business hours. It is a myth that dwellers in the urban core do not require a vehicle whereas suburbanites do. I make this claim through observation, but I’d love to see statistics that prove me wrong.
  4. The core cities indeed have many more restaurants. But the burbs have a greater selection of grocery and big box type of shopping all with easy access. Any store that needs space, Ikea, car dealers, REI, and Best Buy, will find space in less dense areas.
  5. In Minnesota both the burbs and the city value parks and trails. But there are more lots in the outer areas which have views onto nature areas, marsh lands, and waterways. Since people find happiness in nature, this also edges the suburban options up a nudge from the city.

There’s a lot to love in all areas of a metro area. Luckily everyone likes a slightly different combination. It is a bit silly to poke fun at one area over the other when it’s clear that there are plusses and minuses to all options.

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