City vs Suburb

DaisiesA friend told me, sending kids to private schools in Boston is like buying a brand new BMW and driving it off the cliff, every year. It is, in fact, absolutely true. So at the beginning of each year, city parent's conversation always end up with evaluating moving from the city to the suburbs. Finding a town with good public schools, and you get to keep that BMW, not to mention more room, and ... what? Each year I go through this analysis as well. So I thought I'll put it down on paper here.

What I will give up by moving to the suburbs from South End

  • A diverse neighborhood -- this is not just lip service -- our neighborhood, South End, is diverse in many ways. From economic diversity, to life style diversity, to ethnic diversity. We have retirees and young professionals. We have lawyers and painters.
  • Walking -- we can walk to almost everything. I do not always walk, sometimes I drive, but when the weather is nice, or I need a break, a quick walk to food/bank/post office/library/park is wonderful.
  • Hubway -- I used it last fall when it was first introduced. While it did not have stations in all the places I needed, it was still useful. As it gets deployed more, it will really be useful.
  • Fresh produce -- I live close to a Chinese supermarket that sells a lot of good, fresh produce. I can literally run next door and 10 minutes later cook a healthy meal.
  • Playground -- We happen to live across the street from a wonderful park, which is usually thought of as a suburb perks. In this case it is better than in the suburbs.
  • Somewhat specific to our location, We are so close to the major highway entrances, we can get to anywhere out of the city quickly, ballet lessons, gym class, Chinese school.
  • in door parking and clean streets during snow storm -- the city does a great job in clearing snow off the streets, and with in door parking, I never needed to do anything with snow, and certainly do not need AWD if I don't venture out too far. Gone with the days of driving up and down icy hills with the quattro.
  • in door trash disposal -- the benefits of living in a loft building

What will I gain by moving to the suburbs


  • no private school tuition, obviously
  • living space -- for the same money, we will get a bigger house. With the kids this is a plus. Although after living in the city I definitely will still practice some degree of minimalism living
  • no more parking tickets, and cheaper parking -- City of Boston $1.25/hour. Suburbs - $0.25/hour or free
  • quietness -- I remember the days when night time you actually hear nothing -- and less lights too.
  • FIOS -- this is just a stupid Boston thing -- why don't we get FIOS in the city?
  • Cheaper car insurance -- at least I think this is true. Of course we will drive a lot more
  • BBQ -- so we like to use the outdoor grill a lot even in the city until the BBQ police shut us down
  • Full size washer and dryer -- anyone who lived with the internal drying Bosch dryer will know what I mean

Looking at this list, amazingly, maybe because I am bias towards living in the city, the city plus side is much longer than the suburb pluses. Really only space and cost are the two major reason for someone to move to the suburbs. Surprising?