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Poll results: Could you live in a neighborhood where few or none of your peers live?

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  • Yes

    34 69.39%
  • No

    7 14.29%
  • Maybe, under certain circumstances that I'll describe below.

    8 16.33%
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Thread: Could you live in a neighborhood where few or none of your peers live?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    My girlfriend and I were having an argument discussion about this last night. Considering that the cost of housing in your area is relatively affordable, you have a choice in where to reside, and commuting isn't a factor, could you live in a neighborhood or region where few of your peers lived? A few examples:

    * You're Jewish, and you live in a community that is almost entirely Catholic, on the side of town far from where most Jews in the region live.

    * You're a young, educated professional, and you live in a very blue collar neighborhood where almost everybody works "at the plant".

    * You're an educated professional, and you live in an "rugged" exurb where everybody and their brother runs a machine shop, works in the mechanical trades, drives a tow truck, and so on.

    * You're single, and you live in a very family oriented neighborhood; your house is the only one on the block without a minivan in the driveway.

    Discount the fact that your neighbors may be "good people". Could you live in a neighborhood where, basically, you're an outsider looking in?

    I have to be honest: Way too often in my life, I was the odd man out, the outsider looking in, the last kid picked for the team. Given the choice, I really don't want to continue that in the place where I live. I don't want to live in a neighborhood or place where there is a demographic monoculture, and everybody seemed the same, but I would really feel uncomfortable, and a bit isolated, if I was "the Jewish guy" in a city, or the single guy at the end of a cul-de-sac that all the parents suspected was a child molester because "why else would he live here, instead of in the city?"

    Old-time Cyburbians may remember my tales from when I lived in suburban Orlando. While most young professionals lived downtown or in areas to the north, east and south, I lived in Ocoee, a western suburb. Ocoee was predominantly middle to upper-middle-class, but it was very blue-collar; my neighbors included a roofer, prison guard, retired Marine Corps drill sergeant, motorcycle mechanic, painter, and so on. They were great neighbors, and they didn't think this guy without any pickup trucks in his driveway, who wore a button-down shirt to work, was some sort of oddball Yankee. Still, I did feel a bit uncomfortable and out-of-place. Head to any bar in Ocoee, and EVERYBODY had a Nextel phone strapped off their belt, with constant beeping followed by talk of jack-and-bore jobs, picking up the cherry picker at Sunbelt Rentals, and so on. The nearest bar where I could meet my peers was six miles away. No coffeeshops, no amenities catering to young professionals; they were all across town. I don't want to put down the good people I lived near, but I don't think I could live there again; I just felt so isolated and lonely.

  2. #2
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Well, it's human nature to crave comfort and we are most comfortable around our peers so most folks make a concerted effort to try to locate in areas they feel comfortable living in/around.

    But to answer your question I currently live in an area surrounded by (more or less) my peers, but that has not always been the case and lived in several communities where I was truly odd man out.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Not to those extremes, but...

    Married, mid-30s, no kids. I'm not near or at retirement age (like the folks who still own the homes the purchased from the developer in '78 and '79), and we don't have kids (neighborhood is within a short walk of the "sought after" middle school and high school). We are pretty much an anomaly.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Yes, I believe I do this right now. It is not so bad and sometimes being around like-minded people all the time gets tiring.

    While I get along with my neighbors and have become good friends, a lot of the discussion involving guns, hunting, the crowds at Walmart* or the goings on while working for the Budweiser can factory get lost on me.

    Of course, they aren't interested in my cycling exploits (nor my tight shorts), the latest thoughts on classic literature, or the subtle but tasty qualities of cascade hops.

    But we find common ground (discussion about the NFL, trucks, and the weather [everyone's common denominator]) and it is nice to have some variety in my life.

    My only thoughts are when we have kids and they hang around with the neighborhood kids. I have the feeling that the prevailing parenting attitudes are/will be far different than ours.

    *-Sam's Law in 3...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    We have lived alot of places in alot of different situations. Mostly we find people are about the same. If you speak to them they are likely to be friendly.

    The only qualification I will make is that I hated the inner city. Way to many gun shots and anger. I believe the police should respond to a call about gun shots. I was asked if I didn't know where I was calling from.

    Ahh "The City of Hate", Topeka, KS
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Yes, I've always been, more or less, an outsider. Part of being a cops's kid growing up, is learning to live with this. That mentality carried over into my adulthood. Situations are what you make them. Plus, in this day and age, with cell phones, internet, cable tv and generica, you can fit in nearly anywhere.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post

    * You're a young, educated professional, and you live in a very blue collar neighborhood where almost everybody works "at the plant".

    * You're an educated professional, and you live in an "rugged" exurb where everybody and their brother runs a machine shop, works in the mechanical trades, drives a tow truck, and so on.

    Could you live in a neighborhood where, basically, you're an outsider looking in?
    I'm doing it now. I live in a rugged rural community about 45 miles from anything resembling a suburb.

    To try and fit in, I've gotten involved as a volunteer in local planning-related and youth sports efforts.

    People are people, and the United States is still a great experiment in melting-pot multi-culturalism.

    Viva la difference!
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    We bought our house based on proximity to my son's high school and our appreciation of mid-century modern architecture. The son has long-since moved on to his own life. Our neighbors are primarily hispanic or black with a sprinking of asians and original white owners. While we're ready to move on after nearly twenty years in the neighborhood, it's just because of a desire to leave the big city not because we're different from most of the neighbors.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Well, I've always felt like an outsider for one reason or another, no matter where I am...*shrugs*

    Seriously, though, I don't view my neighborhood as having any impact on my social life. It's nice to chat with the neighbors once in awhile, but we mostly keep to ourselves and our respective work/family obligations anyway.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    We live in a neighborhood of small homes built in the 50s with the original owners in them for the most part. Our house was built in 1999 on an infill lot and we have the little one. My MIL would come over and walk Wee P in the stroller around the block and the retirees would come out and talk grandma talk - the little one knows more nieghbors around the block than we do. The neighbors across the street keep their grandson in the afternoons and thats the only young one in the hood. A couple DINKs have bought in but not many kids.

    For professions we have furniture upholsterers, furniture sales, furniture plant operators, hospice nurse, retired, retired, retired, secretary and dry cleaner. Its an interesting mix.

    We are looking at moving, but we're being very picky about a house.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  11. #11
    Cyburbian ruralplanner's avatar
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    I have posted on this type of discussion before. For us, not living in an area of like-minded people has its trade-offs in that we get to live in a great area surrounded by relative nothingness. However the community potluck, if there were one, would likely entail conversations about deer hunting, George’s outhouse adventure and the number of beer cans in the ditch.

    After we bought our house, the previous owner invited all of the neighbors over to meet the new owners, the new owners being us. And we met our new neighbors, the neighbors being them. Us and Them. At least that is how it felt. I don’t remember who was all there, but I do remember a case of Bud and stories upon stories of how Jerome made dynamite and blew things up. The ordeal lasted a couple of hours and when everyone left the previous owner asked us what we thought with a little twinkle in her eye. We were numb wondering what we got ourselves into.

    To this day we still feel like we are in the wrong ‘neighborhood’. Fifteen miles that way has a smattering a like-minded rural folks and 50 miles the other way has even more. Our neighborhood—well read the above. It is not much different today. While we get along with our neighbors (except one who is a little too free wielding with fire arms) and from time to time they have helped us urbanites at heart out with snow plowing, we still feel isolated.

    The wife has not fared as well with this isolation and every week talks about bailing. For me, I have learned to talk the talk from working as a planner in a rural county, so I can at least have an intelligent conversation about deer and yes, even outhouses. Every spring we take the kids out to pick up beer cans and get a wave from all of the neighbors that pass by. So it is not all bad—but at the end they are not our people and visions of a poetry read over a good bottle of brew are almost laughable.

    I can say that without a shadow of doubt, if we moved, making sure we were in a neighborhood of like-minded people (our peers) would be a top priority. Right now we are definitely the odd ones out.

  12. #12
    I moved to Boston after having grown up in Boston when there were only a couple of Mexican (-American) people here. Now there are lots.

    It was weird, but I learned a lot and I fell in love and got married here. I am so glad I made the move, even if there is still no decent Mexican restaurants in this burg.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    I'm doing it now, and I don't really like it. In a sense, it's actually what I've always done, having grown up as a token minority in uber-white suburban Boston. My issue with where I am now is not one of ethnic diversity (it's really quite diverse here, far more so than most of the wealthy communities that surround this one) but of personal interests. I'm too much of a "creative class" type to be happy living in a place where the only drinking establishments are seedy dives that resemble the Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars. I like intellectual and philosophical conversation, reading, riding bikes, playing music and seeing live bands, and being within walking distance of a downtown that has stuff going on... stuff that doesn't involve groping women or smashing bottles over peoples' heads.

    I've been here five months and only know one other person in this community (besides those I work with), someone who lives in the same building that I live in and see around from time to time. Everyone else that I know is in NYC. A side effect of having NYC so close is that it's a black hole for my demographic. All the other twenty-somethings are there, not here. In this particular community, it sometimes seems as though everyone is either a day laborer from Ecuador or a parent with 2.4 kids.

    There's a neighboring village about 5 miles south of here that is much more to my liking, though it's considerable more costly to live there and thus I'll need a roommate if I go ahead and move there this fall when my lease is up.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    This is an interesting question. I really don't have a yes or no answer. If we're talking complete isolation and difference, that might be more difficult. How many variables would I have in common with these neighbors? If they were all hispanic, but otherwise had similar education, interests, age, religion, etc., that wouldn't be that big a deal. But a group that was completely different, say middle-aged Hindu Chinese high school dropouts who enjoy motocross...that would be difficult. Especially if we didn't have a language in common.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    The neighborhood I left when I moved to the panhandle was a great mix of housing types, from 2 br 900 s.f. houses up to the new 5,000 s.f. place being built behind me. Most of the homes date from the '30's to the '50's and there was an equally good mix of people (except the neighborhood perv with the 700 guns...). Singles, young couples (some with kids), retirees, professionals, blue-collar, etc. The high-rise construction worker next door (wife worked in supermarket deli) hung out with the insurance agent across the street. From the planning dept, a director, manager, admin asst, planning tech, and I all lived in the same neighborhood, because it offered so many different sizes and types of houses.

    RJ's neighborhood is much more homogenous, from what I gather, it's mostly professionals and folks from the air base, the houses are all similar, too. I guess before we moved in, RJ probably looked like you, Dan, single guy living alone in a big house in an area of families.

    But back to the basic question: nope, I would not want to be the oddball in the neighborhood.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    I don't care who my neighbors are so long as they leave me alone and stay out of my business.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    GREAT QUESTION

    The neighborhood I live in now is WAY older than us and very reclusive......The last time we lived in a neighborhood of our "peers" was in a Denver suburb at our first home. I MISS IT Lately I've been really wishing that I was in touch with my "peers" at least someone within 10 years of my age That's what I get for living in Florida and Arizona
    Skilled Adoxographer

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    Peers

    Easy, I have no peers!
    WALSTIB

  19. #19
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I could easily live in a neighborhood with no "peers". As long as access to "peers" is not onerous.

    Though, I would be hard to find a neighborhood full of urban form and zoning code history needs.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    All I ever wanted, since I was a kid...
    Was to go out to the wilderness...
    And live off the grid..
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
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    I kinda did this when I moved to a small town after college. I had always lived in big cities. Because almost no one had moved into town from the outside (I think they issued building permits for 5 new homes in the previous 3 years), being an non-native really made me stand out. It was the kind of place where everyone knew everything about everyone, except me. Most people my age were moving out of town, not in. So, I was definitely the odd man out of the group. I suppose I might do something like that again.
    JOE ILIFF
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Debt is normal . . . Be weird!
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    "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    Because of our careers and sometimes a commuter marriage, Mrs Katt and I have had to live in lot of different places, and it has been very rare when we lived in an area of peers.
    Actually we think that we have learned a lot from living in areas that were not made up of our peers and we have learned different view points

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    The neighborhood I live in now is WAY older than us and very reclusive......The last time we lived in a neighborhood of our "peers" was in a Denver suburb at our first home. I MISS IT Lately I've been really wishing that I was in touch with my "peers" at least someone within 10 years of my age That's what I get for living in Florida and Arizona
    Oh quit whining! You just lived in the wrong area of Florida; like with non-natives??? Loud, old people? (Altho' I guess by some Cyb's estimates, I would be a loud, old person...)

  24. #24
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    ZG stole my thunder. Lots of USAF fly boys in the neighborhood.

    Last place I lived before moving to Florida, in a former life, was in a rural area where most of the people never completed a 4th grade education, lived on poaching wildlife, and selling meth--the stories I could tell. The exception was the doctor across the street (who spent most of his time at a practice down in Moscow ID), and the dentist about a mile away (he had a hot wife (who wanted me)). I hated it. Never again.

    I've never lived in a better neighborhood than where I am at the moment.

  25. #25
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    We have always somehow lived in a party neighborhood - not sure how that always happens to us -

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