Does The Neigborhood You Live In Define You?

Saturday, January 06, 2018

It's not something we always think about, but how does the neighborhood you live in affect you? Of course, it's that nature vs. nurture debate when it comes to issues like raising our children, but for those who live far away from other people, or live the nomadic life, how much importance should be placed on the neighborhood in terms of how it makes the living experience? Let's address some of the key factors that should be considered, and whether you are looking to move, or you are planning on setting up a new life in a new place, here are some things that you should carry at the forefront of your mind.

The Safety Concerns

Not just in terms of the crime rate, but do the people as a whole have a sensible approach to tackling and preventing crime in the neighborhood? The idea of a neighborhood watch program is always a great thing to keep an eye out for, but it's not always something that we see nowadays. There are close-knit communities who still have them in place, and when you factor in something like the cost of a house in a specific neighborhood, they might have been an influx of people moving there because of it being so cheap. But with it being so cheap, it does mean that there may be a sense of suspicion when it comes to your neighbors. Likewise, if you go to an area where the living costs are high, there may be more of a community spirit to help protect themselves. And if you do move to an expensive or wealthy neighborhood, the chances are that there could be high crime anyway. It is always beneficial to bear these things in mind when you do move to a new neighborhood, but it also doesn't hurt to have additional safety concerns. It is common sense to have some home security set up, and a company like Suddenlink has plenty of home security options for the average person. The big concern about moving to any new neighborhood is the factor of the unknown. There are so many aspects of the neighborhood that we don't really know, even if we've been there quite a lot to visit friends or family. So it's always beneficial to get the real opinions of the people that live in the neighborhood, and this will give you a better understanding of the place and how it feels to live with regards to every aspect, not just crime.

The Health Impact

An oft-overlooked aspect of urban living now is the impacts, positive and negative, on our health. Because of the so-called urban sprawl, it's common for towns and cities that were not crowded 10, 15, or 20 years ago, to be oversaturated, as can be witnessed with more neighborhoods being built in formerly rural areas, as well as high rise buildings. And it's this feeling of being hemmed in that can have a major effect on our health, not just in a physical sense, but a mental one too. Lots of people choose to move out to the country to get the benefits of rural living but still commute into the city to work. This can have pros and cons attached to it. The inevitable con with living so far away is the act of commuting itself. This can have a detrimental effect on anyone's health, so it's vital that when you pick a neighborhood to live in that it gives you that feeling of escape from the urban lifestyle that is so unhealthy now. Not only this, but if you are living in an urban landscape and raising children, there can be a negative impact on their mental health in one respect, because of the pressures you face in terms of high living costs, the stresses of work, and so forth. But also, there are positives for an urban setting for your children, in regards to how they develop social skills and urban living as shown to be much better for children to develop socially. And so, if you decide that living in a more rural area is better for you and your family in terms of finances, as well as quality of life, what do you need to consider there?

Being A Country Bumpkin

Of course, this is a very clichéd impression of someone who lives in a rural setting, but there are some aspects to think about with regards to this sort of neighborhood set up. A rural setting, in the literal sense, can mean you are away from all sorts of amenities, and people, so if you lived out in the middle of nowhere, this could promote a feeling of isolation. It all depends on your previous experience of living, so if you lived in a built-up city area, and you go straight to a house in the middle of nowhere, the neighborhood can seem very sparse. And so, that feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere can translate to your frame of mind. There are rural areas where communities are small, thriving, and friendly. And there is something quite wholesome about this, a good example in popular culture is the town of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls, where everyone knows each other, and it seems to work towards the positive, for the most part. So, a nurturing environment in these sorts of communities is still out there, not just in a fictional TV show. But, you need to look hard for these types of areas now. And while these communities can give off the impression of being naive, it's these close-knit people that are fiercely protective. This can be in a very wonderful way to raise children or to claw back that feeling of relaxation you've not had for so many years. A rural community doesn't need to be somewhere for you to retire to, it can be the rejuvenation you need in a stressful life.

The Missing Ingredient…

When deciding on a neighborhood to live in, there is one thing that could be, arguably, more important than the house itself. The people, much like when you work in a job you hate, will make the neighborhood that you live in much better. Lots of people now have no formal relationship with their neighbors, which is a big shame, because this is one of the big things in improving the overall morale of any area. If people were keen on setting up things like neighborhood watches, social groups, committee meetings, and so forth, this is something that will benefit the people living in the neighborhood in a security aspect, but also in a personal one. To hark back to another popular culture reference, when George Bush moved opposite The Simpsons on Evergreen Terrace, his relationship with Homer was fraught, to say the least. And so, regardless of whether you need to move to an area that, on the face of it, is relaxing, and provides a suitable respite from the stresses of your working life, if the people in the neighborhood aren't that forthcoming with their friendliness, this can cause a very potent underlying tension. And, some people are doing their best to instigate a feeling of neighborhood friendliness, but a lot of them are done on social media, and groups are set up. The one thing when setting up a group on social media is that some people can use it to air dirty laundry about neighborhood quibbles, such as the fact that a dog left some unsightly mess in their front lawn. But, on the upside, as more people communicate via social media a different kind of community is being born. And maybe this is the way forward when it comes to establishing a proper neighborhood environment, it's not done in person anymore, but online. And, if this is how people communicate with each other, then the idea of the old-fashioned neighborhood may be dead in the water, apart from in a few places. And, in fact, there may be only a few years left with these close-knit communities, and the Facebook groups and Twitter pages are the sign of the times when it comes to establishing a community feeling.

So, does the neighborhood define the living experience? It seems that a neighborhood, however big, small or non-existent, is not really about the community anymore. This might be something that you really should think about if you plan on moving to a new area, and as there are still a few people in the world desperate to keep the idea of community spirit alive, it is something that is gradually disappearing, unfortunately. So when you move to a new neighborhood, it is vital to have these in your mind. Moving to a new neighborhood is a big challenge even when you find the right home, but throwing the overall impact on your health, state of mind, and the caliber of the people living there, as well as common issues like crime, then you've got a lot to think about.

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"Not all those who wander are lost."
- J. R. R. Tolkien

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