Our first child is just a year and a half, but eventually we will be moving out of the apartment and hopefully into a house, either rented or owned.

One big consideration for us is not moving as our daughter grows up so she can keep her friends, her classmates and her neighborhood. But that means being very careful on choosing the neighborhood we live in.

What is your advice for picking a neighborhood? From things to look for in the present, and things to look for in the future. Who has moved into a neighborhood that has gotten better, and who into a neighborhood that has gotten worse.

Also, we are thinking about private school, so does it really matter where we live?

asked 11 Oct '09, 17:19

MrChrister's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%


Where are you living at the moment? if I may ask :)

(11 Oct '09, 20:09) Emi

We currently live in Portland, OR. A great town and probably anywhere we choose is good, but I wouldn't be posting here if I wasn't a helicopter dad.

(13 Oct '09, 04:27) MrChrister

Pls forgive my ignorance but what exactly is a helicopter dad? :-)

(13 Oct '09, 15:02) Emi

I hover (virtually) over my daughter and am over protective http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/helicopter+parent

(13 Oct '09, 15:30) MrChrister

If you are moving to another district or neighbourhood because you are considering whats going to better for your child / children, then I think you may tend to look at things solely from a parents perspective and I think it is important to be really aware of this as you are doing it.

I also believe that where you live should also enhance your life and complement your prefered lifestyle. You could try and base your choice considering many factors at the same time, while remaining somewhat faithful to you and your partners own needs too.

As an example for you;

My brother chose to live in Kent, England, in a very calm area with exceptionally good Pre School, Primary and Secondary school choices, so that his 3 children could walk to and from school. As Scott mentions above, the taxes in these areas are considerably higher, in order to fund those schools. They socialise with the parents of friends of their 3 children and seem happy to be living in a residential area in what can be considered a tight knit community. Having said that, the children are not allowed out with their bikes without supervision, and visits to the parks nearby are always escorted by one of the parents. When I asked why this was, both he and his wife say that they do not think its safe. I found this ironic because they initially chose to live in this area because they felt it to be very safe.

We chose our neighbourhood for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, its location to the city centre, we can walk everywhere and are not relying solely on the car. The building was important to us, a huge historical apartment with longterm tenants, of whom 70% are actually heirs to the building.

The artistic, bohemian village-like atmosphere seemed to us an interesting and colourful place in which to continue living after our daughter was born and to continue to raise her, instead of moving away from the city centre into more newly developed housing compounds of a distinctive homogeneous nature.

Many people thought our choice was the wrong one, but we feel that it was the right for us, our lifestyle and the enviroment we thought we wanted our daughter exposed to. It was a risk but we didn't buy, we were renting so we could have left if things didn't turn out the way we had hoped.

Now at the age of 5 she attends a private school, which is a 20 minute drive away. She enjoys her school, and certainly enjoys the journey with the school bus.

As an expat I wanted my daughter to grow up in a cosmopolitan enviroment. Initially it seemed a bit utopic and unattainable, but when we walk in our neighbourhood, and we see the florist, the butcher, the bakery, the cafes and so fourth... and we exchange greetings that are sincere and courteous, I feel that we made the right choice for ourselves.


answered 12 Oct '09, 20:30

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

I think a lot of this depends on where you live in the world to begin with. For instance, as a Canadian when I was working in Michigan, I was perplexed by peoples' focus on choosing a home in the right school district. Doing a little research I determined this was because of funding disparities between various districts:

  1. Michigan 2009 per-pupil funding by district
  2. School funding crisis highlights inequities

The difference between there and Ontario is that the schools seem to be heavily funded by the local tax base in Michigan, but in Ontario it's provincially funded. So if you're a concerned parent in Michigan, you want to make sure you live in a place that pays more taxes. Now this probably won't matter as much if you send your kids to a private school.

As for picking a neighbourhood, your kids will have a lot of interaction with your neighbours, so it's an important choice. Of course, what's important to you will differ from what's important to other people. I guess that means you may want to choose a community with similar values to your own.


answered 11 Oct '09, 17:40

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Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

The only thing I can add to the previous answers is to keep in mind that your little one still has a couple of years before school starts. That's a couple of years for a school system to improve or completely tank. Over-enrollment from well meaning parents flocking to a district can ruin a previously great school in a single year.

Where ever you choose to move, be sure to pay attention to the school board and the issues they are addressing. By getting envolved yourself you can help shape the school system . If you think its on the right track, help keep it there. In the end, you may decide to send your daughter to private school when push comes to shove and there is no shame in that.


answered 13 Oct '09, 01:39

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Rob Allen
accept rate: 12%

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Asked: 11 Oct '09, 17:19

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Last updated: 13 Oct '09, 01:39