As a planner I've always been fascinated about how people perceive various places in America. In talking to people over the years about all sorts of places and how they like living in each I've noticed a common theme: people tend to think that where they live doesn't compare favorably to most other places. This is generally the case even if they haven’t been to Tampa, Phoenix, Boston, or Chicago, or wherever it is. In their mind, whenever it is, its better than here.
It is true that sometimes perception does reflect reality; Buffalo’s economy has crumbled, Miami traffic is horrendous. Some places get stigmas attached to them. Regions get stigmas, such as the widely propagated notion that all of the jobs in America are heading to the sunbelt, and deserting the northeast and midwest.
But more often than not these perceptions aren’t reality, or even reflected in popular media. There’s something indistinguishable at work. Something that makes New Englanders wish they lived in Florida and Floridians wish they lived in New England. Or makes L.A. residents profess to you how much they hate it there and how they want to move to Oregon, and vice versa.
I call it the “grass-is-greener-somewhere-else” mentality, and I must confess, it particularly annoys me because I like where I live (Albany), and I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else. What about you? Are you happy where you live or do you think the grass is greener somewhere else?